A 16-year-old Sarasota, Florida teen was taken into custody on Sunday, April 17, 2011 for his involvement in the shooting of two British tourists on holiday from England. He was jailed and charged with two counts of murder.
According to BayNews9, the tourists, aged 24 and 25, were killed Saturday morning at The Courts public housing project in the 1700 block of Carver Court in Sarasota, FL. Officials have not determined why the tourists were at the location, which is in an area of town police known to be problematic.
Detectives said the tourists were staying at a hotel on Longboat Key, around 12 miles from where they were shot. The shooting happened just before 3 a.m.
The 16-year-old male arrested for the crime lives in the neighborhood the shooting took place and has a previous record. A few weeks ago he was arrested for aggravated assault with a handgun.
Officials believe that others were involved and are continuing their investigation. Prosecutors will decide of the boy will be tried as a juvenile or an adult.
The state of Florida’s approach to juvenile crime differs in its approach to adult crimes. The ambition for the juvenile court system is not as much to punish but to rehabilitate the juvenile. Criminals sentenced as juveniles can be placed under house arrest or in a juvenile detention center. This is not the same as prison, but more of a passing short-term detention where the juvenile can be given direction, education and mental health or substance abuse services from certified juvenile crime specialists.
For murder offenses, Florida courts have the diplomacy to sentence juveniles to life without parole. When the court believes an offense is too serious for fleeting confinement, the child is sentenced as an adult and sent to a prison with other adult inhabitants. The judge typically has to give a reason for transferring the juvenile to an adult court to be tried as an adult, but not always. As a courtesy, the court sometimes holds the juvenile in the detention center until he receives a sentence as an adult. The court may also impose holding the child until reaching a certain age, usually 19, for transfer to the adult facility.
If your son or daughter has been arrested for a crime and is awaiting trial as a juvenile or an adult anywhere in the state of Florida, contact the Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at the Law Offices of Whittel & Melton, LLC online or call 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).