A 15-year-old, 14-year-old and 13-year-old have all been arrested and charged with the stabbing death of a 19-year-old in Langley Park, Maryland. According to reports, the victim went to a biker trail to conduct a drug deal when the three boys attacked him. Apparently, the kids conducted the killing to impress a local gang.
The names of the 15-year-old and 14-year-old have been released as those two are being charged as adults in Prince George County. The 13-year-old, however, is being charged as a juvenile and is currently being held in the Cheltenham Youth Facility. Each criminal defendant, as well as the prosecution, may challenge these designations during the criminal defense of the accused.
This slaying is tragic not only because it claimed the life of a young man but also because of the life-altering impact it will have on three juveniles who have been charged with the crime. Despite this narrative, prosecutors will aggressively pursue severe penalties for all of the suspects involved, which could mean life, or a majority of it, in prison.
Understanding the dynamics of these types of prosecutions is crucial to planning a sound criminal defense. Juveniles who are accused of committing adult crimes are often treated differently in the criminal justice system. Nevertheless, the law does set out parameters which may help young people get a second chance.
When it is wise, the accused can engage in plea negotiations to reduce sentences and take advantage of the State's programs directed towards helping youths. This process can be vital for parents hoping to steer their children away from a life of crime and limit the impact of youthful mistakes.
Source: CBS News, "3 teens charged with murder in fatal MD. stabbing," May 16, 2014