A 12-year-old Florida boy has been arrested in connection with the murder of a 54-year-old man in late June. The young man, who was just one suspect in the case, apparently worked together with a second 16-year-old suspect. The pair will mount a criminal defense against allegations that they shot the victim in the head at a strip mall in Jacksonville.
Official reports show that the victim was homeless, but he did have family members in the area. He was only carrying a small pocketknife, if any form of personal defense, according to his sister; the man had been robbed shortly before the incident, and he did not have much personal property. He had visited his sister before the shooting incident.
Authorities say they are struggling to identify a motive. The defendant in this case admitted that he was seen in a security camera video at the scene of the crime. He also told authorities that he was involved in a murder. Some experts speculate that the incident may have been gang-related, even though officers have not said anything to that effect. Violent activity tends to increase with youngsters who are working their way through gang initiation, according to representatives at a local youth crisis center. Children turn to gangs because they are missing the intimacy that comes along with family relationships.
The children in this case will be facing criminal charges for their involvement in the alleged shooting. However, it is not yet clear whether the 12-year-old will face criminal proceedings in the juvenile or adult system. No matter the nature of the allegations, both individuals deserve the full protection of the legal system; an arrest for a violation does not mean that the defendant is automatically considered guilty.
Source: First Coast News, “12-year-old arrested on murder charges” Aug. 01, 2014