Teen Charged in Homestead School Bus Shooting Enters Not Guilty Plea

Jordyn Howe enters not guilty to manslaughter in shooting of girl

The attorney for the 15-year-old charged in the fatal shooting of a girl on a Homestead school bus entered a not guilty plea on his behalf at a hearing Monday.

Jordyn Howe didn't attend the arraignment hearing, where he pled not guilty to charges of manslaughter with a deadly weapon, carrying a concealed firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm by a minor in the November shooting that killed 13-year-old Lourdes Guzman-DeJesus.

Howe had been on house arrest, but he was booked into jail last week after prosecutors decided to charge him as an adult in the shooting. He later bonded out and is back at school without a monitoring device, according to information presented at Monday's hearing.

"I'm very upset he gets to go back to school, like if everything is normal, like if everything's OK. I don't think that's the right way to do it. I don't know. I just, when I heard that, I was like 'Wow,'" said Ady Guzman, the victim's mother.

The assistant principal at Somerset Academy, where Howe had been attending, said the teen had been transferred to a different school but didn't disclose the name.

"I'm glad he's in school, but I'm more comfortable making sure that when he's done with his regular activities, he's not out on the streets," said Judge Ellen Sue Venzer.

Venzer scheduled the next hearing for Wednesday afternoon and said Howe must be present to discuss the conditions of his release.

According to the arrest form, the teens were on their way to school on the private bus when the boy took the firearm out of his backpack and displayed it. The gun went off, hitting Guzman-DeJesus as the bus was in the area of Southwest 296th Street and Southwest 137th Avenue.

Guzman-DeJesus, a student at Palm Glades Preparatory Academy, was taken to Miami Children's Hospital, where she later died.

Howe's family members have refused to comment on the case.

Ron Book, advocate for the victim's family, said: "The feeling was he should not be free to run through this community and the judge on her own has obviously seen fit to tighten the reins on him," he said.

"State has told us that the gun was in the stepfather's closet and that it was owned by the stepfather," Book said.

So far, there is no confirmation about that from Dade State Attorney or from the stepfather.

A spokesperson for the Miami-Dade Public Schools says they are staffed to meet the needs and challenges of all students including those facing criminal charges.

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