An 18-year-old man has told investigators that he killed an 8-year-old girl in Carroll County, Ga. two years ago. A boy who was 12 at the time was arrested and pleaded guilty, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports. Both the 18-year-old confessor, who is mentally disabled, and the now-14-year-old serving a two-year sentence were neighbors of Amy Yates, who was found strangled in a dry lakebed in April 2004 after she left home to ride her bike to a friend’s house.
Police say evidence points to the 12-year-old, but the 18-year-old has provided a motive and some detailed information that has caused investigators to take his claim seriously. The 12-year-old’s defense attorney said he has been told that a religous conversion prompted the man to walk into the sheriff’s office earlier this week to confess.
The 12-year-old, who helped look for Amy during the hours she was missing, was charged with her death shortly after the crime. Last August, the boy entered a plea agreement that found him responsible for the homicide, although he claimed he was innocent. Because he was only 12 at the time of the slaying, the most time the boy could get under Georgia law was two years. He had already been in jail for more than a year by the time of the sentencing. His sentence, which he is serving at a psychiatric facility has about eight months remaining.