18-year-old, 15-year-old charged with murder of Cleveland Police Det. James Skernivitz plead not guilty
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The 18-year-old charged with two counts of aggravated murder in connection with the murders of Cleveland Police Detective James Skernivitz and a citizen pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday.
The Cleveland Municipal Court judge set bond at $3 million for David McDaniel. The amount is well over the request of both the State and Defense.
A 15-year-old boy and a 17-year-old boy are also charged in connection with the murders.
Both juveniles face 11 counts; including, aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and felonious assault in connection with the fatal shootings of Skernivitz and citizen, Scott Dingess.
The 15-year-old male pleaded not guilty in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court Wednesday morning.
He is being held without bond.
The 17-year-old boy pleaded not guilty in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court Tuesday.
The 17-year-old is also being held without bond and the judge ordered both teens to be kept apart at the detention center.
Skernivitz, 53, was shot and killed in the line of duty around 10 p.m. Sept. 3 in the area of W. 65th Street and Storer Avenue.
Police said Skernivitz and Dingess, 50, were ambushed while sitting in Skernivitz’s police vehicle.
Three different persons of interest were identified and taken into custody on unrelated warrants early on, however they were not charged with the murders.
“I want to commend the investigators in this case who dedicated every waking moment to ensure that the individuals responsible for this terrible crime were properly identified and taken into custody,” said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin D. Williams. “I am thankful to the citizens who came forward with information. Furthermore, I want to thank the community members who have offered their kind words of support and prayers. They are truly appreciated.”
Skernivitz became a police officer in February of 1998 was a nearly 25-year veteran of the Cleveland police department.
He was assigned to the gang Gang Impact Unit and was recently sworn in as a Violent Crimes Task Force officer with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working on the national law enforcement initiative Operation Legend.
He was also in the Cleveland honor guard.
Skernivitz’s funeral will be held Sept. 11 at Rocket Mortgage Field House.
Anyone with additional information is asked to call 911 or Crimestoppers at 216-25-CRIME.
The FBI has also set up a tip line at 216-622-6842.
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