Update: Judge Declines to Try Amy Joyner’s Attacker as an Adult

Screenshot of cell phone video taken during bathroom brawl that led to death of Amy Inita Joyner-Francis.

Screenshot of cell phone video taken during bathroom brawl that led to death of Amy Inita Joyner-Francis.

To the surprise and shock of many, a Delaware judge declined to try one of three teenagers involved in the death of Amy Inita Joyner-Francis as an adult.

The unexpected announcement came Friday as Family Court Judge Robert B. Coonin ruled it would be more suitable if Trinity Carr, 16, were tried as a juvenile rather than an adult.

Carr and two other teens were involved in the horrific bathroom brawl that led to the death of 16-year-old Joyner-Francis on April 21. The brutal fight was caught on camera and shows Carr repeatedly punching Joyner-Francis in the head with closed fist.

The state Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that the Delaware teen didn’t die as a direct result of the attack, but rather from a pre-existing heart condition exacerbated by the attack. Multiple cardiologists have since refuted this notion, asserting that it’s highly unlikely Joyner-Francis died from the heart defect.

According to Atlanta Black Star, Carr was later charged with criminally negligent homicide while the other two teens, Zion Snow and Chakeira Wright, were charged with third-degree criminal conspiracy. Prosecutors in the case sought to have Carr tried as an adult.

However, unsupported evidence presented during the case, along with testimony about Carr’s stable family life ultimately led Judge Coonin to try the 16-year-old in juvenile court rather than Superior Court, Delaware Online reports. Carr now faces community supervision and treatment until age 19 if found guilty for her role in Joyner-Francis’ death. If she was tried as an adult, the Delaware teen could have faced up to eight years behind bars, the news site reports.

“While this is [Carr’s] first contact with the justice system, it is a tragic one with a horrific outcome, an outcome that will have a longstanding impact on a family, a school and a community for many years,” Coonin wrote. “Whether [Carr] is tried in the Family Court or in the Superior Court, that outcome will not change; the senseless loss of a young girl’s life cannot be undone nor will the pain inflicted upon her family ever be extinguished.”

“However, when considering all relevant factors including those mandated [by law] the Court must conclude that Trinity Carr is amenable to the rehabilitative process available to the Family Court,” he continued.

The judge’s decision has since sparked outrage from many in the Wilmington community and nationwide.



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