WEST UNION, W.Va. -- A Doddridge County teenager accused of fatally shooting his parents and sister will be charged as an adult, a judge ruled this week.
Doddridge Circuit Judge Jim Sweeny approved a motion by county Prosecuting Attorney Brooke Fitzgerald to transfer Joseph S. Spencer to adult status on Wednesday.
According to state law, circuit judges are required to transfer youths ages 14 to 17 to adult court if prosecutors seek the transfer and the juvenile is charged with murder, rape, kidnapping, armed robbery, arson or treason. Spencer is 16 years old.
It's unclear if Spencer has hired an attorney. Spencer is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the slayings of his parents, Frederick Spencer and Dixie Spencer, and his 9-year-old sister, Patience Spencer.
The three were killed on Sept. 6 at the family's home on Mastons Road off W.Va. 18, Doddridge County Sheriff's Deputy C.W. Modesitt has said.
Deputies have not said what they think led to the slayings. Fitzgerald did not return phone calls Thursday afternoon.
Spencer is being held in a juvenile detention center.