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Bond denied for Atlanta girl accused of killing toddler sister

Whenever a young child is killed by someone in the child's family, the defendant can be certain to need a strong defense. When the alleged domestic violence charge names a 13-year-old sister, the various elements of age and potential penalties in the event of conviction require very special defense attention.

This is the case for a girl in Dekalb County. She is accused of killing her 2-year-old half-sister. During one recent hearing in the case, the prosecutor said that he felt that because of the nature of the crime, she should be denied bail. The judge agreed for now, but has said he may reconsider the decision and will give the defense another chance for bail.

He said his reasons for holding off are based on concerns over whether others in the family might be at risk if the girl is released. The 13-year-old is accused of stabbing her sister to death last month. The family supports her release from juvenile detention where she is currently being held, suggesting it would be a step forward in the healing process.

In a difficult family violence case like this, the entire family is affected by the outcome. Obtaining the best possible outcome will be the driving force behind any defense strategy that is developed. Options in this regard will depend on multiple factors.

One might be to seek a plea agreement that would result in reduced charges and lighter penalties. Another might be to try to show factors that might mitigate holding the defendant accountable. This may be particularly important in this case where the defendant is a child herself.

It should also be noted that we have not heard the full story of this case. With domestic violence charges, hearing the defendant's version of the case can often change the nature of the narrative the prosecution has proffered.

In any case, with the potential for serious consequences in the event of a conviction, it is important for anyone charged with domestic violence to seek legal help immediately.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitutional, "Bond denied for teen accused of killing little sister," Christian Boone, Dec. 11, 2012

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