Sunday, August 31 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:28:29 GMT
Disturbing pictures of an injured kindergartner from Pascagoula have made a mother's call for action go viral online.More >>
Disturbing pictures of an injured kindergartner from Pascagoula have made a mother's call for action go viral online. Friends and family of a Pascagoula kindergarten student have created a Facebook page and GoFundMe.com account claiming the girl was attacked on the playground this week by another student.More >>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 4:53 PM EDT2014-08-19 20:53:02 GMT
A cross was burned in the yard of a Smith County man after what his family is referring to as a vicious hate crime occurred. Family members say that Craig Wilson was beaten with brass knuckles and shotMore >>
A burning cross, a Smith county man beaten and shot by a family member, and in critical condition. We are told this is much more than a family feud, and outraged family members are calling it a "hate crime."
The family of a teenage girl raped by two other teens at a Sylvania park released a statement on the outcome of the case Wednesday.
The 14-year-old suspect in the Olander Park rape case was sentenced to six months in a youth treatment center, followed by probation after he agreed to testify against the other suspect. The 17-year-old suspect pled no contest to a charge of rape and was sentenced to serve two years at the Department of Youth Services, but could be held until he turns 21. The older suspect will also be required to register as a sex offender.
Wednesday marked the end of courtroom proceedings, which is why the victim's family says they decided to speak out. In a written statement, they addressed community outcry as to why the two boys convicted did not receive harsher sentences.
The victim's family released the following statement:
Our family would like to make a statement to those in the community who are questioning the outcome of the Olander Park rape case. As for the younger juvenile, he pled to exactly what he was charged with, which was rape, a felony in the first degree. He admitted in court that he had sexual conduct with the victim against her will. He also agreed to testify against the older juvenile.
The juvenile had no prior record and could have simply been given probation in the case due to his minor status and age. To assure that he would do some time in a locked facility, and to keep our daughter from having to relive this nightmare in front of a crowded courtroom, we decided, with the help of the Prosecutor, to a negotiated sentence, where the juvenile would do six months at the Youth Treatment Center (a lockdown facility), and testify against the youth. The negotiated sentence had nothing to do with the strength of the case in any way.
As far as the older juvenile, his no contest plea is an acceptance of felony first degree rape with the sentence reflecting his guilt. Again, without any prior documented criminal history, the sentence he received is in line with most cases in this area. The facility where he will be incarcerated for two years specializes in first degree felony rape criminals. If this case would have gone to trial, it is highly likely the sentence would be the same. As far as being tried as an adult, this would require prior criminal history and/or the use of a deadly weapon during the commission of this crime.
It was shocking for us to learn how "soft" our judicial system is for such a horrendous crime, but it is the only system we have and therefore we had to be realistic about how it would be handled. This doesn't mean we fully agree with the outcomes. We have no choice but to work within the confines of our judicial system.
We hope this message will help clarify our position regarding the nature of the juveniles' sentences and the decisions we made as a family to help the victim, our daughter, and the rest of our family, move forward from this senseless innocence-robbing ordeal. We certainly hope that the sentences in this case "work," for all of our sakes.