Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Cristian Fernandez: Jacksonville Debates 12 Year-Old Charged wtih Murder

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The decision to charge 12-year-old Cristian Fernandez as an adult in connection with the death of his two year-old half-brother has hit a nerve internationally, and this afternoon drew a response locally.

Two people who head up children's advocacy groups held a community forum this afternoon to explore the various issues of the Fernandez case.

Roy Miller, president of The Children's Campaign, and Lawanda Raviora, director of the NCCD Center for Girls and Young Women, organized the event Cristian Fernandez: The Whole Story today in Riverside.

They invited parents, advocates, and medical and legal experts to join the discussion.

The groups believe Fernandez should be tried as a juvenile on charges he murdered his 2-year-old brother.

Fernandez was indicted -- as an adult -- on charges of first degree murder and aggravated child abuse for the March 14 death of his half-brother.

Investigators believe Fernandez hit his half-brother on the head at least twice, causing his death.

Fernandez was born to a 12-year-old mother, and, according to Public Defender Rob Mason on June 5, "Is somebody that the system failed."

Miller echoed that sentiment, saying the line between child and adult has been blurred in this case. "He's only 12 years old," Miller said. "Trying children as adults is something that's just fundamentally wrong."

In publications leading up to today's gathering, the groups lobbying for Fernandez to be tried as a juvenile said he can still be rehabilitated and that State Attorney Angela Corey needs to change the charges.

"This child needs to be tried as a juvenile...this child can be treated and returned safely to the community," Miller added.

Corey was present at the gathering and spoke, saying those arguing that Fernandez should be treated as a juvenile are "misinformed," and that focus needs to remain on the 2-year-old murder victim in the case.

"Our obligation is to protect that portion of society who cannot protect itself," Corey said.

She insisted that her office is working with the judge and the public defender's office, "Trying to do the right thing." Corey added that the pamphlet the groups passed out today was "filled with misinformation," and that those present today are "not the entire public."

Corey said she's heard a balance of complaints and support for the decision to try Fernandez as an adult, many "who care about our 2-year-old victim."

A plea deal has been discussed for the past several weeks, but nothing has been announced.

Fernandez, who is in custody and going to school, has made numerous court appearances in recent months. No trial date has been scheduled.

First Coast News via @FCN2go

No comments:

Post a Comment