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Teen charged with killing toddler pleads not guilty

Henry Hayes accused of killing 22-month-old Aiden McClendon

Henry Hayes enters courtroom for arraignment
Henry Hayes enters courtroom for arraignment

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A teenager charged with murder in the fatal shooting of 22-month-old Aiden McClendon in January was arraigned in Duval County Court on Tuesday.

 

Henry Hayes, 17, is being held without bond on charges of first-degree murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle, discharging a firearm from a vehicle and possession of a weapon by a Florida delinquent adult.

 

Hayes pleaded not guilty. His attorney asked for a speedy trial, which Florida law specifies would have to happen by Sept. 1.

 

Police say the intended target of the shooting was Aiden's 19-year-old cousin, Reginald Williams, who is in a rival gang. Aiden was sitting in a car with his mother and grandmother in front of their Eastside home on Jan. 29 when he was shot.

 

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the vehicle used in the crime and one gun were recovered. Investigators were able to get an arrest warrant for Hayes based on witness identification and forensic evidence.

 

If convicted on all charges, Hayes could be sentenced to a total of 65 years in prison. He is due back in court on April 26.