(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A judge ruled Friday one of two children, facing juvenile court crimes, had committed arson and caused the death of 14-year-old Cameron Satterley, according to the 5th Circuit Juvenile Office.
Linda Meyer, the Chief Juvenile Officer, said a judge found two of the allegations true beyond a reasonable doubt: first-degree arson (a class A felony) and second-degree involuntary manslaughter (a class E felony) in a hearing Friday, Sept. 6.
Understanding Juvenile cases
"An adjudication hearing is a term associated with the hearing in which the juvenile court judge makes a finding as to whether the allegations in the
petition are true. If the hearing is contested, the attorney puts on evidence via testimony, exhibits, etc. The standard of proof for a petition which alleges allegations of a delinquent nature is "beyond a reasonable doubt." The adjudication hearing would be comparable to a bench trial in adult court." -- Linda Meyer, Chief Juvenile Officer
Juvenile court proceedings and records are closed to the public.
Additionally, all juvenile proceedings are civil which is why the judge, in this case, rules “insufficient evidence” or "allegations true" as opposed to a simple guilty or not guilty ruling.
Due to the ages of the accused and Juvenile Court rules, no names have been released.
The case was presented by the juvenile office attorney and not the Buchanan County Prosecutor's office.
Satterley's body was found at the end of April under the ashes and rubble of a north end house that burned down two months prior.
The Juvenile office alleged three minors, two children and one 15-year-old, played a role in Satterley's death. The original allegations, filed between April 27-May 9, accused two children of Arson in the first degree and Abandonment of a Corpse, a class E felony. The third minor, the teen, was accused of abandonment of a corpse.
A hearing for one of the children was held Tuesday, Sept. 3 but was reset for Friday. The case was pushed back to give the judge more time to review non-testimonial evidence submitted during the hearing. Non-testimonial evidence means evidence not provided by a witness. Examples can mean blood tests, documents, surveillance videos or photos.
The other child's case was reset for November.
A 15-year-old also faced juvenile proceedings for abandoning a corpse in May but was cleared after a judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to hold the teen responsible, according to Deputy Juvenile Officer Dan Sharp. At the time, Sharp said he was not aware of a specific piece of evidence or hole in the case presented against the teen.
Satterley's body was found at the end of April under the ashes of what was once a home in the 1400 block of N. 3rd Street. The house burned to the ground on Feb. 20 in the early morning hours. Satterley’s body was not found in the initial fire investigation, according to the St. Joseph Fire Department.
The homeowner told the SJFD that no one was home at the time of the fire. The deed for the Northside home lists William Bascue and Tammy Bascue as the owners of the home according to documents filed with the Buchanan County Recorder office.
A homeowner's surveillance video shows four people run from a north end house fire where Satterley's body was found. The neighbor saved short clips from that night. One video captures four people run out of the house and then up a nearby street at about 4:21 a.m. The video also shows the house go up in flames just a few minutes later.
The legal department with the City of St. Joseph said it has turned over all of SJFD's reports about the fire to investigators.
Investigators then passed the case over to the 5th Circuit Juvenile Office in April.
A judge will hold a sentencing hearing for the minor found to have committed arson and manslaughter, on Sept. 24.
The other youth's case is set for a hearing on Nov. 13.