An attorney for a 16-year-old Delaware girl who was charged in a high school attack that left student Amy Joyner-Francis dead said his client had no way of knowing the fight would end in a fatality, CBS reports.
John Deckers, whose juvenile client has not been named, said in a statement to the Associated Press Tuesday that the Howard High School of Technology student also maintained good grades and had no prior disciplinary action against her. The student was charged with criminally negligent homicide following a fight between her and Joyner-Francis, as well as two other 16-year-old girls, who also have not been named because they are juveniles.
The assault was caught on video.
Earlier this week, it was revealed Joyner-Francis died of sudden cardiac arrest that likely stemmed from a pre-existing heart condition. The physical and emotional stress of the attack contributed to her death. Deckers said his client had no way of knowing about Joyner-Francis’ condition.
“The altercation was between two teens who knowingly and willingly entered the bathroom for that purpose,” he said. “The possible consequence — that a consensual fight, involving no blunt force injuries, could ever result in death due to an unknown, pre-existing medical condition — was entirely unapparent to either girl.”
“A teenager has no way of reasonably perceiving or anticipating that death might occur in this type of a consensual confrontation — something which otherwise appeared to be a not uncommon, although ugly and regrettable, fight between two school girls,” he added.
Prosecutors will seek to have the student charged as an adult.
In announcing charges Monday, authorities said that while the evidence indicates that all three defendants were involved in planning a confrontation with Joyner-Francis, Deckers’ client was the only person believed to have struck her.
The other two girls involved have been charged with misdemeanor conspiracy. Deckers’ client is currently home after being released on a $13,000 unsecured bond, the report states.
A motive for the attack has not been made public. Deckers said his client and her family both want to extend their condolences to the victim’s loved ones.
“This is a painful, confusing and unforeseeable tragedy for all involved,” he said, adding that the case involves “unique, if not unprecedented,” facts and legal issues.