Florida sisters accused of plotting teenage brother's shooting death

Reuters News
|
Posted: Jan 07, 2015 4:11 PM

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - Two Florida sisters, ages 15 and 11, have been charged with premeditated murder in the shooting death of their 16-year-old brother, who was killed with a handgun taken from the bedroom of their out-of-town parents, authorities said on Wednesday.

The 15-year-old girl confessed to the shooting, which occurred on Monday night in Columbia County, just south of the Georgia border, according to a police report.

She told police that her brother had beaten her and locked her inside a bedroom. Once he fell asleep, her younger sister unlocked the door and the older girl killed him, the police report said.

The girls, who subsequently ran away, were arrested on Tuesday after coming to the attention of authorities in nearby White Springs, Florida, about 70 miles west of Jacksonville.

The older sister initially seemed unemotional, a police officer noted in a report, applying makeup as he talked to her and avoiding eye contact, but broke down crying just before she confessed.

Authorities say the younger sister assisted in the killing. Both girls were arrested as adults on premeditated murder charges, but prosecutors will decide later whether to formally charge them as adults.

Because they are minors, Reuters is not naming the girls.

A judge on Wednesday ordered that they be held for 30 days at a juvenile detention center in Gainesville and set their arraignment for Jan. 22, said Murray Smith, spokesman for the sheriff's office in Columbia County.

The girls' parents, who were driving a truck route on the day of the killing, were also arrested on Tuesday and face charges of child neglect based on conditions at the home, authorities said. They remained in jail on Wednesday on $20,000 bonds, according to public records.

A 3-year-old child who lived in the home was taken into state custody.

Columbia County Public Defender Blair Payne said his office will represent the older sister, and legal arrangements are being made for the other family members. He declined to comment on the substance of the case.

(Editing by Letitia Stein and Eric Walsh)