GRETNA, La. (AP) — A 13-year-old Terrytown boy accused of killing his sister while practicing wrestling moves in June has pleaded guilty to negligent homicide.
The child admitted Tuesday to killing the 5-year-old, whose injuries included broken ribs, a lacerated liver and internal bleeding. The teenager said in a hand-written admission that he used moves named for wrestlers he saw on TV when he slammed his body or elbow into the little girl’s torso multiple times.
The teenager was to stand trial on a charge of manslaughter Tuesday. He accepted a plea agreement on the lesser charge in Jefferson Parish juvenile court.
The New Orleans Advocate reports that the boy’s attorney, Molly Gilmore, occasionally put her hand to his shoulder as he wrote his admission for the judge. His mother sobbed quietly into a yellow washcloth only a few feet away, occasionally covering her eyes with her hand and shaking her head. The boy’s stepfather, the father of the dead girl, sat expressionless at the head of the table.
Juvenile Judge Andrea Price Janzen asked the teenager whether he, in fact, caused his sister’s death and he softly said, “Yes, ma’am.”
The Times-Picayune reports the teenager faces a sentence ranging from probation to five years in a juvenile detention center.
Janzen set sentencing for Dec. 4. She will base her decision in part on the psychological and psychiatric evaluations she ordered as part of a pre-sentence investigation. The evaluations will include doctors’ opinions on whether young children are safe around him, the judge said.
The boy’s mother, a Haitian immigrant, needed a Creole-speaking interpreter to understand the court proceedings.
In court, she told Janzen she discussed the plea with her son’s attorney but not with her son. They spoke privately outside the courtroom for about 10 minutes, before she returned and suggested that she might not have supported the plea.
“I don’t say that is what he should do, but that is his decision,” the interpreter quoted her as saying.
Standing in the foyer after the hearing, the mother was asked whether she could forgive her son for what he had done.
“God asks us to forgive,” she told The Advocate through an interpreter after a few moments. “Yes, I forgive him.”
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