A 12-year-old boy allegedly strangled Amy Yates, 8, of Carrollton, Ga., on Monday. The boy, whose name was not released, is being held in a youth facility. The Los Angeles Times reports that Carroll County prosecutor Pete Skandalakis said that the stiffest penalty he could face was two years in juvenile detention. “In Georgia, a 12-year-old could walk into a school and gun down teachers and students and you do not have the option of prosecuting” him as an adult, he said. “Under the age of 13, our hands are very much tied.”
Anne Proffitt Dupre of the University of Georgia, said that unlike the adult justice system – which mandated particularly harsh sentences for violent crimes – the Georgia juvenile justice ystem was wholly geared toward rehabilitation.
Local residents vented their rage on talk radio, demanding severe punishment for the boy. Prosecutor Skandalakis said he had found no way to seek a penalty beyond two years. If the boy had been a few months older, Georgia’s “seven deadly sins” law, which laid out harsh minimum sentences for violent crimes, would have allowed prosecution as an adult. Although prosecutors complain to legislators, there has been no move to toughen the law. “There’s nothing in between major and minor punishment,” Skandalakis said.