A 10-year-old central Pennsylvania girl was charged with third-degree murder, according to the Associated Press.
The charges filed against the Franklin County fifth-grader came after a coroner's inquest into the death of 11-month-old Heath Ryder. The girl allegedly caused the baby's death by violently shaking him and throwing him into a crib.
A judge immediately transferred the girl's case to juvenile court, where records are sealed. According to the Associated Press, Pennsylvania law requires murder charges to be initiated in adult court regardless of the defendant's age, according District Attorney Matthew Fogal, who supported moving the case to juvenile court. The suspect was 9-years-old when the baby was injured.
This case has taken quite a different path than a homicide allegedly committed by an 11-year-old Lawrence County boy in 2009. Although, the Lawrence County boy used a gun to kill his father's live-in girl friend, the ages of the alleged offenders are comparable and both were either in or going to fifth grade.
Yet Jordan Brown remains in custody for over two years facing adult charges and the Franklin County girl awaits a juvenile disposition while at home with her parents.
The Public Opinion reported that all charges were in line with a jury's recommendations after a two-day inquest held in mid-April. The proceedings included testimony from police, the infant's parents and another girl who was in Bowers' care at the time.
The baby's father, Mark Ryder, said following the inquest that he wanted the suspect punished for what happened to his son. The girl was released into the custody of her parents and ordered not to have unsupervised contact with children under age five, reported the Associated Press.