Skooter reporting 09/20/12
A 2-year-old Cristian Fernandez was found naked and dirty, wandering in South Florida street and that was 10 years ago before he was charged with murder. The grandmother who is taking care of him is a drug addict (cocaine) and holed up in a messy room, while his 14-year-old mother can’t be found.
Fernandez’ life had been interrupted with violence since he was born, an act that resulted in a sexual assault conviction against his father. His life got bad when Fernandez was sexually assaulted by a cousin and mercilessly beaten by his stepfather, who committed suicide before the police could investigate the incident.
The boy learned to quash his feelings, once telling a counselor: "You got to suck up feelings and get over it."
Fernandez, who is now 13, is accused of two shocking crimes himself, one is first-degree murder in the 2011 beating to death of his 2-year-old half-brother and second, the sexual abuse of his 5-year-old half-brother. Charged as an adult and is the youngest inmate is pending trial in Duval County.
Fernandez could face a life sentence, once convicted of first-degree murder, a likelihood that has enthused strong emotions among those for and against such harsh punishment. The case is one of the most complicated and difficult in Florida's courts, and it could modify how first-degree murder charges involving juvenile defendants are handled statewide.
This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional for young offenders to get mandatory life sentences without parole. Due to the court’s ruling, Fernandez' defense attorneys said they can't advise their client what kind of sentence he could face. Another impediment involves whether Fernandez understood his rights during police interrogations.
Given if Fernandez is convicted, Richard Kuritz asked, a former Jacksonville prosecutor who is now a defense attorney, what should they be? What would be a fair disposition? Kuritz didn’t think this case is going to end anytime soon.