A Milwaukee girl accused of stabbing and killing her step-grandfather at age 13 for pouring her milk down the drain admitted to the charge Tuesday, offering the juvenile equivalent of a guilty plea and receiving a sentence of at least one year of detention.
The girl, now 15, originally was charged in adult court with first-degree intentional homicide. She would have faced a mandatory life sentence if convicted there, although she may have been eligible for parole.
Instead, as part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to recommend that her case be sent to juvenile court. In return, the girl admitted to the charge.
She was sentenced in juvenile court to supervision by the Department of Corrections for at least one year, and could remain under supervision until her 25th birthday depending on factors that include conduct and compliance with treatments.
The Associated Press had identified the girl when her case was in adult court. The AP is no longer identifying her because she was convicted in juvenile court, where identities are confidential.
Public defender Robin Dorman said the girl and her family were relieved the case finally was resolved.
A message left with the prosecutor was not immediately returned.
The girl was accused of stabbing her 48-year-old step-grandfather in the summer of 2009. Prosecutors said the man poured enough milk for the baby of the house and discarded the rest although he knew the girl wanted it for her cereal.
The man took the milk he poured to the living room, apparently to prepare it for the baby, prosecutors said.
A witness told authorities the girl then grabbed a paring knife from the sink and charged after him. The witness said the girl swung at the man and he stepped back covered in blood, gasping weakly that he'd been stabbed in the neck.
Authorities said a neighbor heard a commotion, then saw the girl step outside with blood on her.
The girl has said she argued with the man but stabbed him only after he began choking her, said Joy Sherard, her other public defender.
"She has maintained that from the very beginning," Sherard said. "There was a history there."
The girl's family had described her as a troubled teenager who couldn't get the help she needed.
Sherard told the AP that county officials had intervened in the household on several occasions in the past.
Dinesh Ramde can be reached at dramde(at)ap.org.