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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Age 12 Charged As Adult:

Boy accused of murder held in isolation
Published: June 7, 2011 at 10:33 AM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., June 7 (UPI) -- A Florida boy, 12, charged as an adult with
first-degree murder and held in isolation, should be moved back to a juvenile
facility, his lawyer said.

Cristian Fernandez lives in a 30-square-foot cell in the Duval County Jail in
Jacksonville, The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union reported Tuesday.

Fernandez was indicted by a grand jury for the March 14 beating death of his
2-year-old half-brother, David Gallariago.

He is the youngest person in the city's history to be charged with first-degree
murder, the Times-Union reported.

If found guilty, Fernandez faces a sentence of life in prison with no chance for
parole, the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange at Kennesaw State University
in Kennesaw, Ga., reported.

Fernandez is in isolation because his age and the high-profile nature of his
case forces the jail to keep him away from other juveniles, jail chief Tara
Wildes said.

Fernandez's lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Rob Mason, said he wants the boy
to be sent back to the juvenile facility where he was held for several months
since the toddler's slaying.

"He's done well there and developed a good relationship with his mental health
counselor," he said.

The prosecutor, Assistant State Attorney Mark Caliel, said juveniles must be
treated as adults when facing adult charges, adding that safety at the juvenile
facility is an issue.

"If I were the parents of a kid charged with petty theft, I would be outraged if
someone charged with first-degree murder were there right beside them," Caliel

Fernandez is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc

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