A 12 year-old boy has been arrested and charged with premeditated first-degree murder in Jacksonville. Christian Fernandez is accused of beating his brother, David, to death. David was two years-old.
In Jacksonville and all of Florida, before a child (juvenile) under 14 years-old can be charged as an adult, the state attorney’s office has to obtain an indictment from a grand jury. That means the prosecutor’s office has to present the evidence they have to a panel of citizens and the grand jury members decide whether or not to charge the child. The process of treating a child as an adult in criminal court is called “direct file”. If the juvenile is over 14 years-old, the state attorney’s office has the sole discretion to direct file the child.
Fernandez faces life in prison if he is convicted of first-degree murder. According to police, his brother, David, sustained a skull fracture, subdural hemorrage, subdural hematoma, bruising on his left eye, and bruising on the bridge of his nose. JSO interviewed the boy and claimed he admitted to shoving David into a bookshelf two times. They also claim Fernandez said he broke David’s leg in January.
Fernandez’s mother, Biannela Susana, was also arrested in Jacksonville. She is charged with Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child, which is a first degree felony. The state attorney’s office would have to prove that Susana unlawfully, by culpable negligence, caused the death of someone under 18 years-old. They have to prove she failed to provide David with care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child’s physical and mental health, including but not limited to food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, and medical services that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of the child. Authorities claim Susana, when initially interviewed about David’s injuries, told them she was at home in the kitchen when the injuries occurred. Later, she said she was not home at the time and when she arrived home, Christian told her David fell off a bunk bed. JSO also claims Susana waited two hours before taking David to the hospital and never called 911.
In January, David had a broken leg and Susana told authorities he fell off a jungle gym. Later, she said Christian broke David’s leg while the two boys were wrestling.