16-year-old to be tried as adult for murder of Lake Charles artist

Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 9:30 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A Westlake teen charged with first-degree murder will be tried as an adult in the February killing of a Lake Charles man.

Jakalynn Rubin, 16, is one of several teens accused in the murder of local artist Derrick Thornton, who was shot at a home on O’Brien Street. Rubin is held at the Calcasieu Correctional Center.

Victim Derrick Thornton was one of two artists of the mural on Broad Street that showcases...
Victim Derrick Thornton was one of two artists of the mural on Broad Street that showcases local businesses lost to Hurricane Laura.(KPLC)

Assistant District Attorney Jacob Johnson said several factors were assessed to determine how the teen would be tried.

“We looked at the evidence, we looked at the exact nature of the act. Then we looked at what outcomes are likely, whether it’s juvenile court or adult court, and what we feel is most appropriate from the aspect of public safety, from the aspect of appropriate punishment for someone’s actions. So, in this case, we elected to move forward with an adult prosecution,” Johnson said.

He said if Rubin was charged as a juvenile, his maximum sentence would have been about four years, versus the lifetime consequences he will face as an adult.

“The sentence for a murder conviction in Louisiana is a life sentence. Now if someone is under 18 but is tried as an adult, there is a presumption of parole eligibility after 25 years,” Johnson said.

Now that we know why he was charged as an adult, what about his safety? We reached out to the Calcasieu Correctional Facility, and they responded with the following statement:

“When juveniles are adjudicated and charged as adults by the court, the law requires them to be held at an adult facility. At any given time, we house 1 to 5 juveniles who have been charged as adults. They are housed separate from adult offenders, in two-man cells (with other juveniles). Anytime the juveniles need to be moved, for example when they are going outside for recreation time, corrections deputies ensure there are no adults out at that time. The juveniles still have access to the same resources as adults, such as the tablets for educational tools, movies, and mail access, as well as phone calls. If the juvenile turns 18 while still incarcerated, it is at that time they are transitioned into the adult population. Safety is always our top priority at the Calcasieu Correctional Center, not only in the instance when keeping juveniles and adults segregated. Deputies continuously take the proper steps to keep our entire population safe. "

Rubin does not yet have a court date.