Life has not been easy for Cristian Fernandez, and in the months to come, it will get immeasurably worse. The 13-year-old will be charged as an adult and is the youngest inmate awaiting trial in the county jail.
If convicted of first degree murder for the beating death of his 2-year-old half brother and the sexual abuse of his 5-year-old half brother, he could spend much of his life behind bars. As his short back-story unfolds, it's clear this young life has been a sad and devastating one.
The product of a sexual assault, his mother gave birth to him at just 14 years old. At 2 years old, he was found naked, dirty, and alone on a South Florida street. In the care of his grandmother, she was reportedly found with cocaine in a messy hotel room.
Cristian was later sexually assaulted by a cousin and physically abused by his stepfather, who committed suicide during the police investigation of that incident. So harrowing was his life, to survive, he once told a counselor: "You got to suck up feelings and get over it." What a sad perspective for such a young person.
Now facing a lengthy prison term, this poor child's life is over before it ever began. This case has definitely sparked a lot of controversy, as many people believe it's not right such a young child should face life in prison. However, even if found guilty, Fernandez will likely see the light of day. The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that it's unconstitutional for juveniles to get mandatory life sentences without parole.
If convicted, he certainly deserves to be locked away for some period of time. If only that meant he would get the help he needed. We all know that is unlikely. I can't even imagine what he will be like after decades behind bars, but I suppose one day we will find out after he is freed.
Watch more on the story:
Do you think a 13-year-old should be charged as an adult?
Image via Daquella manera/Flickr