11-Year-Old Charged With Manslaughter in Baby's Death

That's Criminal 32

handcuffsThe 10-year-old girl who was arrested earlier this year in connection with the death of 3-month-old baby girl Brooklyn Foss Greenaway has had a birthday. But the fact that Kelli Murphy is now 11 doesn't change anything in the eyes of the law. The state of Maine continued with its plan to charge the now 11-year-old with manslaughter today.

Someone has to pay for the death of an innocent baby. But is a manslaughter charge for an 11-year-old girl really the right way to do it?

Prosecutors haven't let many of the details of what happened to little Brooklyn out into the public, but we know the baby's grieving mom, Nikki Greenaway, left the 3-month-old with babysitter Amanda Huard -- Kelli's mom -- overnight in July. Cops say Huard left the baby in her 10-year-old daughter's room that night. The next morning, Brooklyn was dead.

The cause of death hasn't been made public, but Nikki has told the media that her little girl ingested medication and had been suffocated. And of course, now 11-year-old Kelli was indicted today on charges of juvenile manslaughter, which means prosecutors are saying she was somehow involved in the baby's death.

But here we have a little girl who -- it bears mentioning -- reportedly has behavioral issues. There is even rumor that the 11-year-old was involved in hurting another infant in the past. And she was left all night long in a room with a fussy infant?

That's hard enough for some adults to deal with. How often do you see Moms or Dads complaining that they got no sleep because of their baby? They're frustrated, exhausted ... and they're adults. Now imagine the same thing, only it's a child having to try to figure out how to deal with it. A child who is already challenged with behavioral issues.

As many -- from us here at The Stir to Nikki Greenaway -- have pointed out, it seems like Amanda Huard should be answering for this crime. She is the one who allegedly left a baby in another bedroom all night long when she was supposed to be the caregiver. Not to mention she left this baby with a child who had known issues.

We don't know why the prosecutors have neglected to charge Huard. But their decisions to go so hard after a young child is almost equally troubling. If convicted, this kid stands to spend a decade in a juvenile facility. She likely wouldn't be allowed out until the age of 21.

While I fully support punishing this child if she did indeed cause a baby's death, we are still talking about a child. A child with behavioral issues at that. A manslaughter charge sounds like a bunch of adults are putting too much pressure on a little girl.

Right now Kelli has to undergo a competency test, and she technically plead "no answer" to the charges. So it's all up in the air. Hopefully that means prosecutors will be thinking long and hard about who should take the brunt of the punishment in this case.

What do you think of this girl's manslaughter charge and the possible sentence? What would be more appropriate?

 

Image via petercastleton/Flickr

crime, death