Florida 12-Year-Old Faces Life Without Parole in Murder Case

The continuing debate about sentencing juveniles to life without parole has real-world implications for a 12-year-old boy in Jacksonville, Fla., accused of killing his two-year-old half-brother.

The Florida attorney general, Angela Corey (pictured at left) charged Christian Fernandez as an adult in the first-degree murder case. Corey quoted in the Florida Times-Union, said eight years was not enough time to rehabilitate Fernandez. But his adult status leaves Fernandez open to the possibility of a life sentence.

The Times-Union story describes how Corey’s staff spent two months examining the 12-year-old before deciding how to charge him.  The story also takes a long look at the history of juvenile life without parole sentences.



15 thoughts on “Florida 12-Year-Old Faces Life Without Parole in Murder Case

  1. I’m not surprised that this outrage is in Florida! Texas will have to find an 11 year old to try as an adult now. The juvenile court system should be done away with considering the mentality in this country. I wouldn’t be surprised if this prosecutor doesn’t go for lethal injection!

  2. What 12-year-old is going to want to accept that plea bargain? If you have kids ask them. If it’s okay to ask this 12-year-old to spend time in prison, why not your own kids? And how are they proving that he did “beat his brother to death”? I have nephews, one is five and the other is two almost three-years-old and they play rough all the time. It’s what little boys do, the parents try to control it, but you just cannot help it. Maybe the boys were just playing. I understand that Christian is 12 so he should understand. But haven’t you ever been frustrated with a two-year-old? Maybe Christian just didn’t know how to handle it, he’s only a “preteen” after all. Hormones, stress, etc. There are numerous things that could’ve been a cause for him to do what he did, and he doesn’t understand it, so he cannot correctly or accurately explain it.


  4. please write letters to Angela Corey at 220 East Bay Street Jacksonville Florida 32202 and also please go onto facebook and look up Justice for Cristian to show support for this child… thanks so much

  5. Corey should be ashamed of herself. This child needs help for the first time in his little life he needs someone to reach out and say your going to ok.. he didn’t mean to kill his sibling but if being beaten is all he knows then that is what he did.Its all a very sad thing even to Cristian’s mother being expecting at the age of 12. I will work whatever campaign I have to so she will be voted out of office … this has shown she is not capable of making good decisions for us. Shame on her…

  6. It is a simple career chance for this lady.

    This system is not appropriate for juveniles, especially when such a ridiculous decision has taken to send a 12-years old boy for the rest of its life in prison. I think overcrowded prisons and a more and more violent, poor society will bring up more and more such cases.

    That an attorney general looks at its own chances to keep its position for the next votes is a further aspect in that case.

    So the world is hard with some and some tries to make other peoples life to hell.

    This poor child will suffer its life long for that what he’s done…that’s life without parole enough, instead put him into prison. I think the USA have enough problems beside of that.

  7. i dont think he should get life. but should get some psychi help something had to happen to get to this point. what was going on in the house where was the parents . or some adult supervise if he has hurt him before why is he hurting him like that we need to look at ever point what was going on in the house look like this child crying out for attention

  8. This disgusts me, my son is an very emotionally immature 11 year old and I blame myself due to past mistakes and decisions. Ive since turned my life around and been sober> My son has a made a profound turn with my life being stable and consistent in his life. So the saying I so believe to be un-true “Once bad always bad”. Comes to mind this child is well under the age of accountability and the parent should be held responsible. I see this little boy lean his head against the wall of the “box” and I see a child forced to grow up too fast. I just want to hug and kiss give him love and caring attention this child has never known. Tell me do our children become “throw away children”, my condlences to the loss of this family and there 2 year old. Someone must stand and fight for the youth of our generation

  9. This prosecutor is loving the attention – she is bragging about how hard the decision was for her – that she spent two whole months deciding to destroy what is left of a small, horribly abused child. There is absolutely no reason to try him as an adult and frankly this case is nothing more than a garden variety manslaughter case where an older youth beats a smaller child, accidentally killing the smaller child. As terrible as the consequences were for the dead child, the situation was put into motion by adults and their failure to resolve neglect and abuse cases of this nature.

    Florida law was amended after the Bradley MaGee case, because an adult was able to get off with manslaughter after claiming that he only intended to discipline a child by repeatedly banging the toddler’s head against a toilet. Because the incompetent prosecutors in Florida were incapable of making a murder charge stick in such a case, the law now provides that anyone who deliberately injures a child, resulting in death, is guilty of first degree murder. Intent, the ability to form intent, understanding – none of these things matter. We expect an adult to know that beating someone smaller is wrong and can result in death – we should never expect a 12 year old to have that level of knowledge – that’s why normal people don’t leave children that age in charge of 2 year olds.

    No one here is claiming that this child deliberately killed his sibling. He was forced to care for three younger siblings on a routine basis when he was ill-prepared to do so. Because of his upbringing and the extreme neglect and abuse that he already had suffered at his mother’s hands and his stapfather’s, he believed that smacking around younger children was the best method for getting them to behave. This sort of behavior can easily be corrected in nine years. It has been before and it will be again – in another part of Florida, just a couple of years ago, another 12 year old was handled as a juvenile under strikingly similar circumstances in part because of the fallout from the Tate case. As everyone knows by now, Tate, who was made notorious, also killed a small child in a sibling-type situation. He went on to become an armed robber although he had shown no tendancies in that direction until his imprisonment with much older youths and adults.

    At any given time, there are probably a dozen youngsters nationwide imprisoned in youth facilities for hurting or harming a younger sibling. These people statistically rarely go on to re-offend if properly handled in the juvenile system. We do know, however, that people saddled with adult felony records are marked with a scarlet letter that forces them into the underclass and often renders them emotional cripples or worse.

    This boy is exactly why the juvenile system exists – despite the continual whining of mean-spirited, politically-minded prosecutors like this one who want you to believe that the system was only designed for petty thieves. The reality is that children have killed since the first recording of time at least, and some have engaged in truly horrible acts. In the 1700’s a Native American 12 year old girl was hanged in new England after she killed a toddler in her care. This prosecutor continues this legacy. She might not be killing him with a needle, but right now he sits in an adult jail in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT – a brutal and horrific condition for anyone, let alone a child of 12 with serious emotional issues. Despite the fact that he was successfully confined without incident in a juvenile facility for two months, the prosecutor’s office has insisted that the child be imprisoned in the adult prison, purportedly to proect other children like “petty thieves.”

    Let’s face it – the prosecutor here is hoping to force this child into an ill-advised plea bargain with this brutal and over the top treatment. She also hopes to boost her personal political appeal by claiming to be tough on crime, while “compassionate” in her dealings with children of this nature. You really can’t have it both ways. She is likely hoping to be called to testify to amend the juvenile code to provide for the ill-advised “blended sentences” that have never been shown to have a positive effect and led to abuse of these offenders in the Texas system – the kids were forced to provide sexual favors to guards in exchange for getting a good rating toward release.

    This netherworld exists informally in Florida already. Just a couple of months ago, 23 year old Alex King, who was used by a pedophile in a murder and convicted for this “crime” committed at age 12, found himself involved in a minor fender bender. For most of us, it would have been a bad moment. For him, it was a moment of terror where he would be confronted by police officials who so horribly abused him at age 12 and throughout his teen years. He fled the scene and took a pain killer, and was then arrested for the “crime” and sent to jail where he drains the tax coffers. King was making substantial progress emotionally and academically with te help of his support group, but a prosecutor in Codey’s mold decided that he deserved no additional chances. Because he still had draconian parole conditions hanging over him into his twenties, he is on the verge of total destruction in Florida’s prison system.

    That’s what Codey wants for this boy – a life under the prosecutorial knife where a minor fender bender at 23 leads to additional years of imprisonment and brutality for an offense committed at 12. Let this child pay for his crime in juvenile lockup and try – really try to change him.

    • Oh Halleluiah! There are normal people on this planet, thank you for being one! I just read the comments form people on the Huffington Post and I almost croaked at how barbaric the mindset is out there! I commented back that they remind me of people in Roman coliseums watching an adulterer get eaten by lions!