The victim is allegedly the young teen’s 9-year-old half-sister.
This is a case that is sure to be highly emotional and garner a great deal of publicity.
It doesn’t appear that there will be a denial of the fact that this boy is the killer. In fact, he allegedly admitted it to investigators.
It’s going to be important for defense attorneys to shepherd the focus onto the age of the defendant, as well as what may be any relevant circumstances, such as his mental state of mind and family situation.
Here’s what we know of the case so far, according to numerous media sources:
The girl had told her aunt, who was also her foster mother, that she had gone for a bicycle ride. When she didn’t return, her aunt went looking for her. She checked with a neighbor, but the neighbor hadn’t seen her.
When the aunt got back to the house shortly after 8 p.m., she saw the girl hanging from a tree. Reportedly, she had been hung with an old rope that had once held a tire swing.
It was a cotton rope with a simple knot. The cause of death has been deemed strangulation.
The girl was cut down and taken to the hospital, where she was declared dead.
The accused, her half-brother, reportedly fell asleep after she had been taken to the hospital. Police returned to the residence and arrested him sometime between 2 and 3 a.m.
The half-siblings had been staying with their aunt and uncle for some time in some form of foster care arrangement. It was not immediately clear whether the state had placed the children to live there or whether their parents had dropped them off there.
Authorities say the boy confessed and had even given a motive, although that detail was not released publicly.
As of right now, he’s charged as a juvenile, though that could change.
According to Alabama Statute Section 13A-6-1 through 13A-6-4, there are several types of homicide under the law. Those include murder, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. If this young teen is indeed charged as an adult, as will be decided by the prosecutor, he is likely to face one of these charges.
In a murder, a person causes the death of another with specific intent or with extreme indifference to human life.
In a manslaughter case, the defendant is accused of causing the death of another person either through reckless actions or as described in the murder statute, except it happens in the heat of passion.
With a criminally negligent homicide, a person can be held responsible for the death of another if that death was caused by someone who didn’t intend for that person to die but either knew or should have known that his or her actions created a serious risk of death to another.