NJ Teens Charged with Murder in Immigrant Killing
New Jersey prosecutors have charged three teens who beat a restaurant worker to death with murder. The teens assaulted the man on a park bench near the restaurant where he worked. Another teen recorded the beating with a cell phone camera. The man died several days later without regaining consciousness.
- Offense upgraded from manslaughter to murder
- Motive in question: racial hatred or "thrill killing?"
- One suspect 17 years old, will be tried as an adult
One Juvenile Among Those Charged
Police say they lack a motive in the crime. They call the investigation active. Police have yet to charge the fourth teen who captured the beating on his cell phone. The victim was a well-respected area resident of Salvadoran background.
Authorities did not release the name of the 17-year-old accused. He’s being held in a youth detention center. The criminal law does not treat juveniles the same as adults. Special procedures apply to juveniles from the time of arrest through trial and punishment. In many cases, especially for nonviolent first offenses, the system aims to divert the juvenile away from criminal influences and rehabilitate, rather than punish.
In this case, the 17-year-old will be tried as an adult. New Jersey law requires the juvenile court to give up jurisdiction in certain cases. Called mandatory waiver, it applies to juveniles 16 and older who have been charged with murder and other serious felonies.
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