DA's Office: Accused gunman in Grandzol slaying shouldn't go to juvenile court

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office announced its opposition Wednesday to sending an accused gunman's case to juvenile court in the September slaying of community activist Gerard Grandzol.

Grandzol, 38, was fatally shot in front of his 2-year-old daughter outside their Spring Garden home.

The accused gunman, then 16, "committed a brutal, premeditated murder without provocation," prosecutors wrote in a court filing. "His actions both during and after the killing warrant prosecution as an adult."

"The limits of the juvenile justice system are wholly insufficient to adequately address the seriousness of this senseless killing," prosecutors said. "Additionally, the transfer to juvenile court cannot begin to protect or serve the public interest."

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Grandzol was fatally shot around 8 p.m. Sept. 7 on the 1600 block of Melon Street. He had just parked his SUV with his 2-year-old daughter Violet in the backseat when the accused gunman and his 20-year-old brother Maurice Roberts, allegedly approached him, demanding his wallet.

In an audio transcript of the killing, Marvin Roberts can be heard saying, "Turn around and give me the keys!" Grandzol responds, "I've got my 2-year-old in the car. Let me get my daughter out of the car." Roberts can then be heard responding, "No, don't move!" before firing, striking Grandzol in the head.

If his case were transferred to juvenile court, Marvin Roberts would only remain under court supervision until he turns 21.

"The public interest is not served by such a short term," prosecutors said, noting that "Previous efforts to treat, supervise, and rehabilitate the defendant in the juvenile court have been unsuccessful."

Grandzol's wife said earlier she feared the district attorney wouldn't oppose the defense motion. She welcomed the announcement but said she still fears a plea deal resulting in a lenient sentence.