A 16-year-old from Glens Falls is the first teen to face charges in Washington County under a new state law that moves the case to a new court for young offenders.
His arrest comes weeks after he was arrested as an adult on arson and grand larceny charges, but that was before the law changed.
Skyler Jackson, a former Cambridge resident, is accused of stealing a Honda coupe from a driveway in the town of Jackson on Oct. 21, then leading police on a chase around southern Vermont. He crashed the car near Manchester, Vermont when police used “stop sticks” to deflate the car’s tires. He tried to flee on foot after the car stopped, but officers caught him and he has been held in a juvenile detention center in Vermont since then, facing three felony charges.
That theft came less than a month after Jackson was charged with the Sept. 30 arson of a utility trailer attached to a vehicle in a driveway and damage to the Jeep next to it, resulting in felony arson and criminal mischief counts, police said. Police believe he also broke windows at numerous buildings in the village of Cambridge the same night, and he has been charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief, according to Cambridge-Greenwich Police Sgt. Robert Danko.
He was on probation at the time for the alleged theft in July of another vehicle in the village of Cambridge, Danko said. He had been charged with grand larceny, but pleaded guilty to a reduced petit larceny charge.
Jackson was out of jail two weeks ago, under house arrest with electronic monitoring, when he damaged and removed an electronic ankle bracelet and allegedly stole the Honda.
The date of the fire case is important, because it was the day before state law changed to exclude 16-year-olds from prosecution as adults for most crimes.
Jackson appeared before Washington County Judge Adam Michelini on Monday afternoon for the first court appearance under the state’s “Raise the Age” law, which created a “youth part” of Washington County Court. He was represented by Washington County Public Defender Michael Mercure, and a not guilty plea was entered to a felony grand larceny charge for the Oct. 21 car theft.
Washington County First Assistant District Attorney Christian Morris said his office is prosecuting Jackson as an adult for the alleged crimes before Oct. 1, as the law at that point considered him an adult. Morris said a Washington County grand jury is scheduled to review the case in the coming days.
Prosecutors can decide whether to prosecute teens as adults or juveniles, depending on their age and the charges and circumstances. Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan said his office planned to prosecute Jackson as an adult, since he had numerous prior arrests from before the law change.
“It will allow us to address all of his issues in one location,” Jordan said.
Morris cited the case’s “extraordinary circumstances” and asked that Jackson be detained. Michelini set bail on the charges for which Jackson is being prosecuted as an adult, which will result in him being taken to a youth detention center. The new state law changes where 16-year-olds can be detained, and they can no longer be housed in adult jails.