In a case that has shocked residents of Mundelein in Lake County, a 14-year-old girl has been charged with the murder of her 11-year-old half sister by stabbing her 40 times with a kitchen knife. Unlike other Chicago-area communities, in Mundelein, weapons crimes are rare occurrences.
According to authorities, the teen has confessed that she inflicted the stab wounds repeatedly because she felt unappreciated for cooking meals and doing household chores for the younger girl. She also said she was upset that the younger girl had recently struck her. Initially, the teen lied to police, saying that an intruder broke into their home and hurt her younger sibling.
The case is at a particularly crucial stage because the State Attorney's Office in Lake County has to determine whether to try the teen as a juvenile or an adult.
Criminal defense attorneys have to work hard to ensure that anyone accused of a serious crime such as murder have their constitutional rights protected in a system where any accused is innocent until proven guilty. Especially with a defendant as young as this girl, a legal defense team has to fight to minimize the potential long-term damage of such a tragedy to a young life.
Being arrested and charged with a crime can be the beginning of a complex and intimidating legal process – especially for a young person. In a situation like this, however, a young person may have a better chance at a bright future. Whether issuing a lesser sentence or recommending psychiatric care in place of jail time, a judge may be more lenient on a young person who may not have fully understood the criminal actions he or she is accused of committing.
Source: CNN, “Police: Girl, 14, stabs sister 40 times because she felt unappreciated,” Lateef Mungin, Jan. 23, 2014