Freeman and Best Case Heading to a Grand Jury

September 7, 2012 Updated Sep 7, 2012 at 6:54 PM EDT

By By Rachel Elzufon

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September 7, 2012 Updated Sep 7, 2012 at 6:54 PM EDT

Niagara Falls, NY (WKBW) - The teenager accused of killing a five-year-old girl two weeks ago is "extremely remorseful" according to his attorney.

Friday morning, 16-year-old John Freeman and is co-defendant, 18-year-old Tyler Best, were back in court in Niagara Falls.

Freeman is accused of killing five-year-old Isabella Tennant "with his bare hands." He's charged with second degree murder.

Best is charged with tampering with evidence.

During Friday's hearing, both boys waived the preliminary hearing.

For the first time Freeman's attorney, Robert Viola, spoke with reporters. He said Freeman is "extremely, extremely upset, remorseful about the criminal proceedings and the crimes he's accused of."

Viola says "We're as perplexed as I think everybody else is, because quite frankly, it literally makes no sense."

He explains if the defense went forward with a preliminary hearing, Freeman's statements to police would have been revealed.

Viola says "that statement is under seal at our request. I can't get into the contents of it, but obviously the preliminary hearing would have defeated the purpose of sealing the statement."

Viola also said for now, they're not going to evaluate Freeman's mental competency -- an idea that had been tossed around during his initial appearance.

Freeman is "able to understand the nature of the proceedings against him, he's able to assist in his own defense. Whether that changes with time, then that may be something that has to be revisited." Viola says "There is no explanation that we've either been able to receive or able to develop when interviewing him."

The case will now go to the Niagara County Court in Lockport, where a grand jury will look at the case.

Viola says Freeman is overwhelmed, and understands the community is too. He says "There's a lot of outrage when a 5-year-old little girl's life is destroyed and taken away that way ... It's outrageous."

The families of Freeman, Best and Isabella Tennant were all in court. All of them declined to comment.

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