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Teenage boy arrested for 6-year-old Washington girl's death

Criminal laws implemented in every state, including Washington, are meant to protect people from harmful acts. With regard to violent crimes, law enforcement authorities are particularly concerned with the safety of children. This factor may increase the penalties if a conviction is obtained on certain criminal charges, usually without regard to a defendant's age, meaning that a minor may be charged as an adult, as might happen in one recent case.

Residents of Bremerton were recently horrified by the apparent homicide of a six-year-old girl allegedly committed by a 17-year-old boy. The girl's body was found August 7 in a wooded area near a mobile home park. She had reportedly disappeared from her home on her own the evening of August 2, but her parents did not report her disappearance immediately because she had disappeared for short periods before. The suspect was allegedly well known to the girl's parents.

The arrested teenager now faces charges of manslaughter, rape and second-degree murder. Kitsap County sheriff's deputies and FBI agents took him into custody without incident at his home in the mobile home park. A Washington state crime lab reportedly has DNA and other evidence that links the suspect to the crime. Prosecutors are seeking to have him tried as an adult, although he will continue to be kept in the Kitsap County juvenile-detention center until December when he turns 18. His bail has been set at $1 million.

Just being charged with a violent crime can change a defendant's life, especially if the accused is a juvenile. Although those younger than age 18 are usually tried as juveniles in most states, there are exceptions that allow them to be tried as adults. Nevertheless, no individual's age means he or she cannot exercise his or her civil rights. All defendants have the right to an attorney and to refuse to answer questions from police investigators. By exercising these rights, criminal defendants might stand a better chance of beating the charges they face.

Source: KHQ, "Washington teenager arrested in 6-year-old's death," Aug. 10, 2014

Source: KHQ, "Washington teenager arrested in 6-year-old's death," Aug. 10, 2014

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