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Sisters to enter the juvenile criminal justice system

Florida readers may be aware of a shocking case that has garnered media attention across the state. Two young girls were recently arrested and face charges of second-degree murder after they allegedly shot and killed their brother. As these girls enter the juvenile criminal justice system, details about the case continue to horrify the Columbia County community.

Upon early investigation, police believe that the girls, who are 15 and 11 years of age, were home alone with their 16-year-old brother and 3-year-old sister on the day of the shooting. At some point during the day, it is believed that the brother locked the older girl in a room with a bucket to use as a toilet. The brother went to sleep, and the 11-year-old girl helped her sister get out of the locked room. At that point, the older girl entered the locked bedroom of her parents through a window and found and loaded a 9mm handgun. She then went into the room where the brother was sleeping and shot him in the neck.

Once police arrived on the scene, they discovered that the parents were out working a long-haul trucking assignment, and neglect charges were filed. In addition, records show that the older sister was molested by an uncle years before. He is now serving a life sentence for sex crimes against minors. The report also indicated that the same girl was being molested by her own brother. The girl's parents never sought any form of counseling for their daughter.

This case is tragic on many levels. The loss of life is always disturbing, and the fact that these children were left to fend for themselves is terrible to contemplate. As the girls move through the juvenile criminal justice system, it is hoped that their legal team is able to convince the Florida court that the actions taken at the family's home are the direct result of children who were being harmed in a way that is simply unconscionable, and that the girls need treatment for the trauma they have endured, as well as the chance to live healthy and productive adult lives.

Source: People, "Florida Sisters Accused of Killing Brother Will Be Charged as Juveniles", Steve Helling, Jan. 15, 2015

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