Teen charged in trail attacks faces August hearing

Jul. 11, 2014 @ 11:24 AM

A teen accused of robbing and assaulting people on the American Tobacco Trail is due in court next month to face the charges.

His case, originally set to be heard this week, was postponed until Aug. 5 in Durham County District Court, according to his court-appointed attorney, John Griffin.

The defendant, 17-year-old Justin Sturn of Durham, was arrested by police last month and charged with misdemeanor simple assault, common law robbery (a felony) and felony conspiracy in connection with alleged attacks on the trail June 5 and 6. One victim was punched in the face, and another was assaulted and had his book bag, cellphone and iPod stolen.

Sturn also is charged with misdemeanor larceny in unrelated break-ins in Durham. That case is set to be heard Aug. 19 in Durham District Court.

During Sturn's initial court appearance last month, District Court Judge William Marsh refused to lower Sturn's $75,000 bond.

"Durham gets a bad rap for a few things, but (the trail) is one of the crown jewels of this community, and so the implications are simply beyond an individual crime," Marsh said at the hearing. "It has implications for the whole community."

Sturn remained in the Durham County Jail on Friday under bonds totaling $96,000, which includes the unrelated break-in charges.