Amy Joyner-Francis fatal Delaware high school bathroom battle: accused teenager will not stand trial as an adult, judge says

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DOVER, Del. – A Delaware judge dismissed a request from prosecutors to judge a 16-year-old girl as an adult after a deadly brawl in a high school bathroom.

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Amy Joyner-Francis

CBS News


The judge announced Friday that the accused would instead be tried in family court for criminal negligence homicide and conspiracy.

The girl is accused of repeatedly hitting 16-year-old Amy Joyner-Francis in a premeditated attack on April 21 at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington. Two other girls are accused of conspiracy. The fight was filmed on a cell phone. The Associated Press does not name the accused because they are minors.

A medical examiner said Joyner-Francis had pre-existing heart disease and the physical and emotional stress of the assault contributed to the sudden cardiac arrest that caused his death.

If the 16-year-old girl charged with criminally negligent homicide is found to be a delinquent by family court, she would likely be subject to community supervision and treatment until the age of 19, reports Delaware online. Had she been tried in adult court and convicted, she could have faced a sentence of up to eight years.

“While it is [the teen’s] first contact with the justice system, it is a tragic event with a horrific outcome, an outcome that will have a long-standing impact on a family, school and community for many years to come, ”the court judge wrote. Delaware family, Robert B. Coonin, in his ruling. “Whether
[the teen] is judged in Family or Superior Court, this result will not change; the senseless loss of a young girl’s life cannot be mended and the pain inflicted on her family will never be extinguished.

However, the judge ruled that the state had failed to prove that an adult correctional facility would be “the only remedy available to protect the public and to make the child a useful member of society,” and felt that the girl was suitable for rehabilitation. under the family court system.

The judge noted that she came from a support home with no history of intervention by family services officials and that she had no history of criminal behavior or assault.

The attorney general’s office declined to comment.

Defense attorney John Deckers said the girl’s family were grateful for the decision.

“They are very much aware that this is a tragic ordeal for Amy’s family and friends, as well as the community,” he added.

Arguing that the girl accused of hitting Joyner-Francis should be tried as an adult, prosecutors cited the planned nature of the attack, previous threats of violence, the victim’s injuries and the alleged lack of remorse. of the accused.

Deputy Attorney General Theresa Sedivec told the judge last week that after learning of Joyner-Francis’ death, the girl responded by saying: “Someone else must have kicked her. . They’re not going to blame me. “

But Coonin said there was no evidence the girl knew Joyner-Francis was dead when she made the comments.

The judge also suggested that the prosecution had exaggerated by saying that the victim’s fingernails had been “pulled out” or “pulled out”. According to the medical examiner, Joyner-Francis had long artificial nails, some of which were broken during the fight, partially exposing the underlying nail bed.

Cell phone video shows Joyner-Francis on the ground, struggling to defend herself and escape as she is held by her hair and repeatedly punched and punched on the head.

Wilmington Police Detective Thomas Curley said in an online group chat the day before the attack Joyner-Francis advised a friend of his about an issue involving a boy . “Just be careful,” she warned.

Curley said the defendants were then brought in for a chat and the alleged assailant believed Joyner-Francis was talking about her.


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