A Jefferson Parish judge ruled Wednesday that a Kenner teenager accused of killing an elderly neighbor with a hammer and injuring his wife in July is competent to stand trial.
Vincenzo “Jake” Randazzo, 16, was evaluated by court-appointed doctors and found to be able to understand the charges against him and assist in his own defense. Judge Scott Schlegel issued his ruling after a hearing in 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna.
Randazzo, who was charged as an adult, has pleaded not guilty to one count of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder.
He is accused of attacking Phillip Lynch Sr., 89, and his wife, Anita Lynch, on July 9. Anita Lynch suffered skull fractures. Her husband died of his injuries three weeks later in a hospital.
Investigators said Randazzo became angry with his family after a shoplifting incident and went to the Lynches' house asking for a ride to Baton Rouge. When Phillip Lynch refused, Randazzo grabbed a hammer and attacked them, then stole the couple’s car and drove to Baton Rouge, where he was later arrested, police said.
Randazzo lived in the same Woodlake subdivision as the Lynches and was someone they had grown to regard as a member of the family.
Their friendship began after Randazzo stole a gun from the Lynches' home. After his father made him return the weapon, Randazzo agreed to perform odd jobs for the couple as a type of informal community service.
Randazzo is being held in the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center.