Author Topic: US boy, 13, faces life for murder  (Read 841 times)

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Offline thaiga

US boy, 13, faces life for murder
« on: March 20, 2012, 12:22:10 AM »
Protests are building over the case of a 13-year-old Florida boy charged as an adult with killing his baby brother, which could see him become the youngest person in the United States jailed for life.

Cristian Fernandez is also the youngest person ever to be tried in the state on first-degree murder charges after his half brother, David Gallariago, two, died from a brain trauma incurred when he was pushed into a book case.

Protesters around the world have argued that Fernandez, who was 12 at the time of the incident, should be tried as a juvenile. If he is convicted in an adult court, he faces life imprisonment without parole.

Investigators have said the boy, whose mother was also just 12 when he was born, suffered a life of horrific abuse and neglect, yet has shown that he could be rehabilitated back into society.

His case returns to court on Wednesday for a pre-trial hearing at which the defense will seek to present evidence to have the charges against him reduced.

At a hearing in December in Jacksonville, State Attorney Angela Corey said she would offer a plea deal lessening the charges to second-degree murder, which also calls for a mandatory life imprisonment sentence.

But public defender Matt Shirk turned the deal down insisting Fernandez be tried as a juvenile, which would reduce any sentence to 36 months.

Mark Caliel, an assistant state attorney, said prosecutors do not intend to seek life imprisonment, but that has not quieted a swell of protesters.

Jacksonville mother, Alicia Torrez, who has two children who attended school with Fernandez, and juvenile justice advocate Melissa Higgins have gathered 180,000 signatures on a petition opposing the boy being charged as an adult.

They cite concerns that psychological testing ordered by the child's defense team indicated Fernandez was a victim of chronic abuse, but could also be rehabilitated back into society.

They also say that court records indicate that Fernandez's mother, Biannela Susana, 26, waited six hours after arriving home and finding her younger son injured before taking him to the hospital.

Doctors have said the toddler might have survived had he been treated sooner. The mother has also been charged with aggravated manslaughter, as prosecutors say her negligence led to the boy's death.

``Cristian's story touches a lot of people when they get to know the details of the case,'' said Higgins. ``He is clearly a child who has had a difficult background and his role in what happened is not clearly defined.''

In October 2009 before the family moved to Jacksonville from Miami, Fernandez's stepfather fatally shot himself in front of the family to avoid arrest on child abuse charges.

Higgins, whose website presents studies advocating against adjudicating juveniles as adults, set up the petition on that focuses on Fernandez's case.

But Caliel said after a three-month review, the state made the decision to charge him as an adult.

``We do not believe the juvenile justice system is equipped to appropriately handle the defendant... given the limited jurisdiction of that system which expires when the defendant turns 21 and limits incarceration to 36 months,'' said Caliel.

``We just felt the rehabilitation programs and punishment for the crimes committed could not be accomplished in the limited time he would spend in the juvenile justice system.''

Caliel said the state is seeking a hybrid sentence in which Fernandez is incarcerated in a juvenile setting for the duration of the jail term, until age 21, followed up with court supervised rehabilitation.

``He will not be sent off to an adult prison, and by law he cannot,'' he said.

Caliel said he is hoping to reach a plea bargain before the trial and that even if the case goes to trial prosecutors would preempt a possible life sentence by the proposed hybrid sentence.

But former state attorney Harry Shorstein has also voiced opposition to the move to try Fernandez as an adult.

``I think it illustrates a lack of understanding of the adolescent brain and its development,'' he said. ``It's totally different from an adult and yet to be fully developed.''
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


  • Guest
Re: US boy, 13, faces life for murder
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2012, 07:33:45 AM »
Follow the link below and you will see a different side to the story. Fernandez had previously broken his baby brother's leg and the mother lied to cover up the incident. This time, he beat his baby brother to death and the mother, even though she believed he was still alive, delayed getting medical aid. It  seems that the Courts are facing a a deficient mother and a boy who is emotionally disturbed if not mentally ill. The prosecution has decided to charge him as an adult so that he can be locked up for a long time. If he was charged as a juvenile, he would be back on the streets within just a few years.

At first sight, it might seem inappropriate to charge the boy as an adult for doing no more than push his baby brother against a wardrobe. However, if the report below is true, there's more to the killing than that. Repeated blows suggest someone not in control of himself. If he is emotionally off balance because he's jealous of baby brother, then he needs treatment away from his inadequate mother. If he is mentally ill, he needs different treatment and will never be cured, only controlled. Some mental illnesses may be controlled with drugs but there's no certainty that the sick person would continue to take them once released. We all know about mentally ill vicious killers who have been signed off by a misguided (or bribed with sexual favours) psychiatrist and released, only to make a public nuisance of themselves again.

Perhaps Florida is taking a more appropriate course of action than certain other countries.


  • Guest
Re: US boy, 13, faces life for murder
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2012, 07:45:21 AM »
Here's a bit more with the views of his supporters. You will see from the second pic. that they are from Florida's intellectual elite and so have, no doubt, researched all side of the case before using their own children as advertising hoardings.


Offline thaiga

Re: US boy, 13, faces life for murder
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2012, 01:27:20 PM »
Very interesting,there is twist in the story.Sounds like the mother should have been locked up a long time ago and the child taken into care. But bad news is always good news to the media Thanks for sharing
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.