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Teen charged as an adult in violent crime case

When a minor is accused of a serious crime, the manner in which the situation is handled should include a high level of care and concern. Young people in Florida or elsewhere do not have the mental faculties required to make consistently good decisions, a fact that has been proved in many different medical and social studies. That said, when a young person is accused of a serious violent crime, society demands an appropriate response.

An example is found in the recent decision to charge a 16-year-old girl as an adult following a shootout that injured a Florida State Trooper. The incident took place at a Pilot gas station off of Interstate 95. The trooper was there to purchase gas for his vehicle, and went inside to buy a drink. When he saw a truck without its headlight illuminated, he walked over to that vehicle to speak with the driver.

Inside the truck were the 16-year-old girl and her 15-year-old boyfriend. The pair were allegedly driving to another state with the intent to kill themselves. When the trooper approached the truck, the boy pointed a gun at him and fired. The trooper withdrew his own weapon, and fired three shots in return. At the conclusion of the incident, the young man was dead from a gunshot wound and the trooper was seriously injured.

Investigators believe that the teenage girl encouraged her boyfriend to shoot the Florida trooper. They are also holding her responsible for the boy's death. She is facing violent crime charges of felony murder and attempted murder and will be tried as an adult. Her attorney claims that she has a history of mental issues including depression, and her mental health may play a role within her defense strategy.

Source: mynews13.com, "Teen faces felony murder charges in FHP trooper shootout", Greg Pallone, July 6, 2015

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