Cristian Fernandez, 14, reaches plea deal in killing of 2 y.o. brother

This is an interesting, and troubling, case. Cristian Fernandez, 14, was being tried as an adult for allegedly murdering his 2 year old brother, when Cristian himself was just 12, and allegedly sexually abusing another brother who was 5.

Fernandez reached a plea deal today (copy of plea document is below) with prosecutors in which he will be sentenced as a minor for manslaughter (the sexual assault charges were dropped earlier), and will remain in a juvenile facility until he’s 19. He was facing a possible life in prison, after being charged earlier as an adult.

From Cristian’s defense team, via email:

“We have accomplished our mission to salvage Cristian Fernandez’s ability to have a normal adult life. It was an injustice to charge him with First Degree Murder and we are pleased that he will be treated as a juvenile, as he should have been from the outset. Now he can move on,” said Henry M. (“Hank”) Coxe III, a member of Cristian’s defense team.

cristian-fernandez3

Cristian Fernandez via Dr. Drew Show.

More on the background of the case from CBS:

Cristian Fernandez via YouTube

Cristian Fernandez via YouTube

Christian Fernandez, the 13-year-old Florida boy who is charged as an adult with first-degree murder in the 2011 beating death of his 2-year-old half-brother and the sexual abuse of his 5-year-old half-brother, has had a life marked by violence and neglect.

When he was just two-years-old, Fernandez was found naked and dirty, wandering a South Florida street. The grandmother taking care of him was holed up with cocaine in a motel room, while his 14-year-old mother was nowhere to be found.

His very conception resulted in a sexual assault conviction against his father, and Fernandez’ life got worse from there. He was sexually assaulted by a cousin and beaten by his stepfather, who committed suicide before police investigating the beating arrived.

The boy learned to squelch his feelings, once telling a counselor: “You got to suck up feelings and get over it.”

Jesus.  And you should see his photo. He’s a child himself.  Also, it should be noted that the boy’s mother is a disaster.  He clearly had a horrible life.  More on that from Dr. Drew.

The case has garnered a lot of interest because of the gruesome nature of it, the fact that it involves a boy so young, and from a juvenile justice perspective. Namely, the concern that Fernandez was able to finally get a plea bargain today which removed him from adult prosecution only because of the intense publicity and good lawyering that he was able to get. Many other kids facing adult prosecution around the country are less fortunate.

I’m not generally your go-to guy on juvenile justice issues. My experiences witnessing the process in DC have not been similar to what Fernandez went through. In this town, good luck getting anyone prosecuted, let alone a teenager or less. I do believe that a lot of politics is about incentives. Political actors, and I include police and prosecutors in that mix, do what they do, quite often, based on pressure. So I’m reticent, at least as a DC resident (who was violently mugged by 2 juveniles, and watched the cops let one of their accomplices go from the scene of the crime) to exert more pressure in the direction of fewer, or lesser, prosecutions of juveniles.

cristian-fernandez2

Cristian Fernandez via Dr. Drew Show.

Having said that, when I watch this video of Fernandez speaking to the police, below, I’m sympathetic to the defense’s contention that it’s difficult to imagine a kid of this age being fully cognizant of his rights. I’m not entirely comfortable with him sitting in the room alone with a cop and agreeing to his Miranda rights, as in this video below.  Does he really know what he’s agreeing to?  Does a kid like that really think it’s okay for him to refuse to talk to a cop?  Can he truly appreciate whether or not he needs to call a lawyer before speaking?  This video, admittedly, bothers me (it also bothers me that the video is public at all – he’s a juvenile, I’m not sure this should be available on YouTube):

At the very least, we should perhaps require that lawyers be present, period, when a child is being interrogated. At least if the kid is 12 years old. 17 year olds may, or may not, be a different story.

I’m also sympathetic to the argument that the way children are treated differs based on the level of publicity, or notoriety, their case has attained, or whether they’ve been able to get a good lawyer. Regardless of how you can come down on juvenile justice issues, firmly or gently, all kids in the system should be treated the same.

Here’s a copy of the plea bargain:


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

Share This Post

  • Ches

    The mother was twelve years old when she had him!!!!!!!. Her mother was/is a drug addict. What would the two year old have been if had survived???. What kind of Country has a 12 year old sitting in chains questioned by a woman armed with a gun ??????. The 12 year old is then read his miranda rights and without any support at all.

  • Suzanne Williams-Shelby

    I just wrote a Research paper on this family; I think GRANDMA should have been charged! This mother never had half a chance and the boy had ZERO CHANCE!

  • courtney

    this is messed up.the mom should be the one going to jail.shes the whole reason that he is how he is.and what kind of parent raises her child like that then keeps them home to babysit a 2 year old?he should have extensive therapy instead of incarceration for 6 years!!

  • TheOneInBlack

    I agree wholeheartedly about the Angela Corey bit.

  • sagm33

    I cannot believe you just said that. How ignorant can you get? EVERY person who has shitty lives takes each horrible account and reacts and takes it in differently. I’m not saying what Cristian did was right but you should see things from his point of view. This 12 yr old child was left to take care of a 2 yr old and a 6 yr old. When a baby cries and you can’t get them to stop you do get frustrated, that’s why many adults end up shaking/beating their babies and killing them… A-D-U-L-T-S do this.. this boy is 12 years old, this young boy probably got frustrated with the baby and thats why he hit the baby. After he did this he realized what he had done and called his mother saying he hurt the baby. The mother went home and did NOTHING for over 6 hours. The baby COULD have survived IF the mother had taken him to the doctor right away, but neglected to do so. His intent wasn’t to kill the child if it was he wouldn’t have contacted his mother. He is a child… a fucking child that doesn’t think clearly and lets emotions get him. Don’t tell me at 12 you were the most smartest kid in the world and you thought like an adult? If you say “yes” you are lying beyond belief. At 15 years old I was left to take care of my 2 year old brother because both my parents had to work. Many times I got frustrated and cried and the baby upset me, I couldn’t live a teenage life because I had to take care of a child that wasn’t even mine. I cannot imagine what this boy of 12 feels. Having to go through so much abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, having to see his stepfather commit suicide, and being robbed of so much of his childhood, all of this and no help from anyone. He’s taking care of kid’s that arent his and he’s way to young to be doing this, not even able to go outside and play like a normal 12 yr old should be doing. Humanity like you saddens me, the boy should go to jail for a few years but not all his life, he doesn’t deserve that. If he shows great improvement he should be let back into society. He shouldnt have to rot in jail for the rest of his life. It’s the mother that should be rotting in a jail for all the neglect and things she has done, not the poor boy.

  • Vanmichael

    Correction, he broke David 2yr old bro) leg 2 months earlier not 2 weeks and mother lied and said it was playground accident. Head injury occurred around 9 am and she leaves unconscious 2 yr old in home until 5 pm surfing Internet. Neglect.

  • Vanmichael

    Did you read the whole story!? The mother was irresponsible for leaving him alone –he needs help from the abuse he has endured and he probably did kill his half brother because of repressed aggression, the mother left Christian with the boy 2 weeks earlier and Christian broke both the boys legs. Hello. Then she does it again and he fractures his skull and the kid has internal bleeding. His little brother might have been saved when the mother returned home but she waited 8.5 hours to bring him to the hospital. She used the Internet to view a gossip page on posh spice, texted friends and searched for concussion. Their were many warning signs (age 8 he allegedly killed a kitten and publicly master bated in school). His stepfather beat him so bad the school called police and stepfather committed suicide before investigated. I feel sorry for him but I also worry how many others out there are like this that share this same fate. How many will spend 5 to 7 years in a one size fits all juvenile center, be released and be expected to adapt to society? It scares and saddens me. This kid could be brought into a loving home and perhaps make remarkable progress.

  • http://profiles.google.com/sanddog Ms Anonymous

    maybe I’m missing something here…. a 12 year old can’t drive, can’t drink, can’t vote but they can be mirandized and sign a legal document without a legal guardian present?

  • Tyson Bradford

    really? by your reasoning every child who’s ever been abused physically, emotionally, or sexually should be out killing everyone else. But know what? they’re not. My 9 year old at age 4 could tell me right behavior vs wrong behavior. Also next time you want to sound all smart and use quotes make sure you spell it right idiot. it’s B E G I N N I N G, welcome to the fail boat.

  • Tyson Bradford

    he wasn’t the only one with a shitty life, do you see them ALL killing2 year olds? Stop letting that excuse work, it’s a shitty excuse and doesn’t come anywhere near justifying the murder of a 2 yr old.

  • Nadezda Mindyuk

    A society has to defend him before the murder from bad influences. Now, the society has to be defended from his aggression.

  • willow rivers

    therapy is a very good idea but i think it would be nice if this boy had someone who actually cared about him present in his life.

  • willow rivers

    angela corey is a dangerous woman. how is questioning a 12 year old child with no one present to defend him okay? i can’t imagine that with the life he has had, his education level would have allowed him to understand miranda.

  • Theresa

    really…this child had a lousy life, from his conception till date…where were you when such things happened, did you even think about the kids having kids..kids raped why are they not recommended abortion …abortion is legal for a rape victim and more appropriate when they are kids. this society did not give this kid a chance . might be we need to bring a law as much as it is harmful to kill anyone, it should be harmful to give birth to a child and bring it into to the world when you cannot give the basic security for the child. Blame the mother????no cannot but again why did she have two more children when she could not provide for the first child, why was this child not offered for adoption when he was born …many questions can be raised. before you start giving your superficial judgements please think hard and deep. we will feel ashamed as a society for such things happening around us

  • Dahlia

    Hm. Lots of sympathy here for this boy who killed a 2 year old and sexually abused a 5 year old. Where’s the sympathy for his victims?

  • Olcik

    This story can not be judged to someside, everyone had it coming especially if the childcare let the child to stay with the parents after he was wondering naked on the street. It should been a lot of done prior to the tragedy, now everyone should just learn the salvation and react. The silence from everyone in the everyone about child real neglect should be done.

  • Renee

    I don’t think Christian did anything. I feel like he’s innocent and just covering for his mother. There’s no proof that he did anything. He’s just doing it so his mother won’t be charged as a full adult. At first he plead NOT guilty. Then all of a sudden, BOOM he’s pleading guilty. I’ve lost faith in humanity. Seriously.

  • Renee

    I feel so bad for him. He looks scared. I think that his sentence is a bit long. It could be 18 years of age but at least he’ll be able to study while being charged. I wish California was like this because it’s not and we have life sentences with no parole.

  • Zoher Yusufali

    Has anyone wondered what this boy will do when he turns 19 and gets out? Do you people seriously think that prison is going to change a boy who killed a 2 year old baby? In fact, prison is going to make him more daring, and more ferocious. My only hope is that they medicate this boy and calm his mind down for many many years to come. He should stay in prison for at least another 30-40 years.

  • LarrySingleton

    What an idiot. No matter our society is in decline. Speaking for myself I don’t think I fully matured until I was in my forties. I see guys in their early twenties who I know will be totally different people ten years from now. I tell kids that and the fact that between the time now and when they reach my age will pass in the blink of an eye. It’s too bad you’re the type of scum who supports the growth industry that is the “correctional” machine and their unions. Not to mention the three strikes law and the “war on drugs” putting whole generations behind bars for something that should be a medical issue. But you’re too stupid to realize that.

  • LarrySingleton

    Good for you.

  • LarrySingleton

    The little maggot is you. You’re obviously a dumb-ass. Well, maybe YOU’LL get some help. There are companies that hire the retarded. What would an employer and his employees make of your heartless evil statement though.

  • LarrySingleton

    People shoudl never forget what this predator bitch Angela Corey did to this child. Right off the bat it was like something out of Dickens. Read Edward Humes “No Matter How Loud I Shout” on the Juvenile (IN)justice system. It’s ALL a predatory racket; from going after fathers, stealing their children and ruining thier lives and destroying families across the country it is truly Us vs. Them. This bitch actually goes to church! Can you believe that? AND works with CHILDREN! at St. John’s Episcopan Cathedral in Jacksonville. I encourage everybody to email that church like I did and ask why a predator like that is allowed in even close proximity to children. She Is A Monster. She is a deviant predator.

    I’ve been complaining about these Audio Terrorists in their Boomer Cars who have been allowed to completely destroy thier communities quality of life and peace and quiet. The “prosecutors” are nowhere to be seen. As a matter of fact I was threatened by cops after complaining about this problem at one too many council meetings in Rialto CA. I only bring this up to give an example of the direction our society is going. Rudeness and anti-social behaviour is actually condoned and encouraged. Did you know that Darrell Issa is the Osama bin Ladin of these Audio Terrorists? Issa is somebody that should be put in a bag full of cats and beat with a stick. He’s the founder of Viper Audio and former chairman of the powerful Consumer Electronics Asociation, which uses its financial muscle to lobby against citizens trying to enact local ordinances protecting peace and quiet!

    Watch the Pioneer video “Disturb” at Noise Off-org. Scroll down to the stupid looking guy on the screen shot above “Pioneer Disturb”.
    http://www.noiseoff.org/boomcars.php
    After you watch it tell me you didn’t want to reach through the screen and wring these punks obnoxious little necks.

    Here are some “ads” from Issa and his buddies.

    JBL: “Either we love BASS or hate your neighbors.”
    JL Audio: “Be Very Afraid.”
    Kicker: “You deserve a beating…Kicker’s loudest, meanest subwoofer ever!”
    Concept “When TOO loud is… …just right!”
    Lightning Audio: “Sonic submission.”
    Boss Audio System: “Turn it down? I don’t think so.”
    Cerwin-Vega Mobile Audio: “Shake the living, wake the dead.”
    Crossfire: “We’re louder…Deal with it!”
    Earthquake Sound: “The Meanest, Loudest, Most Powerful, Mother F— Amplifiers Money Can Buy!”
    Viper Audio: “Cold Blooded. Violent Fury and Multi-Channel Mayhem.”
    Orion High Performance Car Audio: “Be Loud. Be Obnoxious.”

  • sapsoap

    Looking at everything and reading about the case and looking at the child Cristian. He is just taking the blame upon himself because his mother pleaded him to. I strongly believe he didn’t do it. Just protecting his mother.

  • Boudicca Gladiatrix

    I dont think you know much about kids and their psychological side. Teens and pre-teens who are abused physically and/or mentally since a very young age have little to none idea of what is wrong and right. A child who has never been shown care or affection is not expected to show any to others. They become hostile or too inmerse in themselves, anti-social, not trustworthy, etc. Too many things affect their growing brains. Yes, they probably know that murdering is wrong but violence it is a common thing for many abused children, they think THATS normal.
    “If you educate children with love from beggining, you wont need to punish adults”.

  • Boudicca Gladiatrix

    Im pretty sure if thats the case, the boy was put in the place of his mother so she wouldnt go to jail and charged as the adult she is, instead they took advantage of her sons age and it was obvious the sentence was going to change to juvenile. Now I feel sorry for him having to spend time in a place where he wont even get any help, if anything, he will learn worst. Because thats what it always happens. Most of them get out of there worst than they came in or they become some loser religious fanatic who doesnt contribute anything to the society.
    Children and teens like him with such a shady and awful background should be mentally treated in a special place with lots of care and to be shown love and that can trust in people so he can be inserted in society again. Instead, will happen all the opposite.
    Jails dont work, it wont ever work, and noone seem to care because we are all “used” to hear about it and too “used” to think it is a common and normal thing and the right thing to do.

  • Sharon

    He should be released, he is innocent! There is zero proof that Cristian did anything. Cristian was thrown under the bus by his mother and railroaded by Angela Corey point blank period! They have many people fooled and that’s scary for the next innocent person politics puts away. Do you really believe prosecutors and think they are honest? That’s a joke!

  • Sharon

    The prosecutor need intense therapy! Please do your research the child was railroaded. My God they have everyone fooled . This is scary!

  • Sharon

    What is sad is everyone believes Cristian even committed the crime. This child was thrown under the bus by his mother and they know it. If people can believe this lie, it’s a sad day in America and there will be many more innocent people railroaded. There is zero proof that Cristian did anything. Cristian was way over charged just so they can win, not because he is guilty. But KARMA is real and I believe what they did to this INNOCENT child will come back to all of them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ralph-Kootz/100002203994228 Ralph Kootz

    He should have been sentenced to 25 yrs. Little boy is dead, and now we have to try and save this little maggot’s life. I don’t care if his life is rough, hopefully he gets killed in prison.

  • phoe

    I’m in favor of the system on this one. Kids 12years and up are smart enough to know right from wrong especially the generations now. Trying to act as tho they are grown so they should realize they need to be held accountable for their actions. Yes prison is a great idea for someone committing murder whether they are 42 or 12.

  • BunnyOle

    Although I am against a kid this young being tried as an adult or receiving the death penalty, I find it sickly humorous and hypocritical that someone who favors abortion (or ‘anti life’ as I like to call it, since the advent of calling pro lifers ‘anti choice’) would declare the death penalty as something bad.

    Just think of it as a ‘post birth abortion’, then maybe the life of someone who has chosen to rape an 8 year old boy and kill him with fire, or the life of the man who kidnapped a 9 year old girl from her bedroom, raped her for 3 days then buried her alive with her little stuffed animal won’t seem as ‘sacred’. Because frankly, I think any grown person who does things like that should just be executed.

  • BunnyOle

    Oh yeah, Obama’s full embracement of the Patriot Act fully proves how pro-privacy democrats or liberal politicians are.

    Obama, the NDAA including his appointed department of justice’s defense of ‘warrentless wiretaps’ was worse than Bush.

    The DOJ claims that the U.S. Government is completely immune from litigation for illegal spying — that the Government can never be sued for surveillance that violates federal privacy statutes.

    This is a radical assertion that no has EVER made prior. No one — not the White House, the Justice Department, not any member of Congress, and not the Bush Administration — has ever interpreted the law this way.

    So maybe you shouldn’t talk about politics, seeing as how little you actually know other than sound bites and advertisement slogan level information.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    exactly so. Arizona is among the worse. Ironically, Governor Jan Brewer’s son is a felon, serial woman abuser.

  • didacticus

    What is missing is that Cristian called his mom right away when David was injured but the mom DENIED medical care to her youngest child for EIGHT HOURS. Doctors said David could have been saved without this DELIBERATE delay.

    In other words, legally it was the MOTHER who killed David. The PRETEEN CHILD Cristian should have been convicted of aggravated battery only, not manslaughter. There is no proximate chain of causation if it is interrupted by an INDEPENDENT CRIMINAL ACT.

  • Randy

    It’s very nice that they charged him as a minor, not an adult. But really, if they wanted a longer conviction, they should have charged him as a black man, not as an hispanic man. Why? because we all know that black men get longer sentences.

    Personally, if I were the defense attorney, I would try to get him charged as a pretty white middle class girl . They never get convicted of anything.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Bosse/608235497 Joe Bosse

    You know, it’s wrong for me to be so angry, but if I were ever to see a cop treat a 12 year old in this manner I would not hesitate to force a conflict. it is obvious that a child has no understanding of the consequences. But I did, and if this is my country? what good is it?

  • http://www.zazzle.com/fierylocks FieryLocks

    Don’t expect the ‘privatized prison industrial complex’ to give anyone, let alone this kid any therapy. They want kids like Christian in and out of the system forever. Why do you think the United States has the world’s largest prison population? Inmates=$$$

  • http://www.zazzle.com/fierylocks FieryLocks

    Or they want to make sure your can buy an assault rifle with a 30 round clip and have the ability to kill as many people as you can with it. The right to bear arms and use them to kill, a-okay but the Constitutional right to privacy and the right to choose…no frigin’ way!

  • mirror

    I don’t support arbitrary release dates.

  • BarbinDC

    Even adults don’t know what, exactly, the Fifth Amendment allows for. For instance, at a Grand Jury hearing in DC about 10 years ago, there was a witness in a murder case who was deliberately told by the Prosecutor that it meant he didn’t have to say anything that would implicate him in a crime. But, when one juror asked him what he was doing on the street just before the murder happened, he said “I was selling drugs.” Face, meet palm.

  • MerryMarjie

    Well said. Republicans seem to think that NO ONE should have an abortion because life is sacred, until they get to the death penalty for criminals, and then, “let’s string ‘em up!”

  • mirror

    Plea documents are written to cover society’s ass. Most adult defendants don’t understand what they are agreeing to. This kid? Totally relying on his lawyers to tell him what is best for him. Then the court pretends he understands what, in fact, only his lawyers understand.

    On the other hand, juvenile level incarceration may help him by at least slowing shit down and making it simpler. He’s got nowhere to go but up.

  • hauksdottir

    And a woman (or minor) who is raped must bear and raise the child, no matter what, including her age, health, ability to parent, etc., according to the Republicans… who are trying to make abortion or even Plan B illegal. Destroy the evidence? Yes, this child is evidence… evidence of a continuing culture of violence.

    Those smug Republicans who state that God uses rapists to make children ought to be forced to witness their God’s handiwork.

  • perljammer

    No kidding. Sexually assaulted by a cousin. Beaten by his stepfather. Killed
    one brother and sexually abused another. Top it off with 5 years in
    Juvenile Detention. That’s a great recipe for a “normal life”.

  • nicho

    Actually, an awful lot of Latinos have gone over to Evangelical and even Charismatic churches. We have a lot of Latino Holy Roller churches around here.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    Latinos are generally Catholic. The Catholic Church doesn’t want anyone to have access to contraception. This kid’s mom got pregnant with him at 11 or 12. He killed his baby brother. Add it all up.

  • cambridgemac

    This is so sad – and scary. Amuhrikka. We’re Number One.

  • Naja pallida

    By in large, our system seeks only to punish and not even try to rehabilitate, and recidivism rates hovering near the 70% mark. It is almost a guarantee that he will re-offend.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    This to me is a prime example of the failure of us, as Americans, to take care of our kids when they’re in horrifically bad situations and to recognize when intervention is needed.

    You ask, John, whether Cristian understood his legal rights as explained to him by the cops. I’d take that a step further and ask whether the kid is so mentally damaged and emotionally stunted he’s incapable of comprehending that it’s wrong to kill someone or to sexually abuse them. Because if that’s the case, where he needs to be isn’t ‘Felon Elementary’ (aka, Juvenile Detention) but receiving psychiatric treatment.

    And he ought not be released at some arbitrary date, but only when his doctors have determined he’s no longer a danger to others.

    Unfortunately, given where he’s going, Cristian is as likely as not to come out of the system at 19 even worse then when he went in.

  • KingCranky

    If Fernandez doesn’t receive intensive therapy while incarcerated, the chances are greater, not fewer, that he’ll offend again after release.

    Another possibility, state spending on incarcerated youths, in Florida, more likely to be cut than increased, with those funds directed to the private prison industry whenever possible.

  • pburns

    There are literally thousands of kids just like him here in Florida.
    Even worse is the attitude that because it’s the parents fault nothing should be done
    to help these kids.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Bad Seed Damien

© 2014 AMERICAblog News. All rights reserved. · Entries RSS