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Judge Denies Request to Charge Endia Martin's Killer As An Adult

By Erica Demarest | October 27, 2015 6:19pm
 Endia Martin, 14, was fatally shot when another 14-year-old girl pulled a gun after an argument.
Endia Martin, 14, was fatally shot when another 14-year-old girl pulled a gun after an argument.
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DNAinfo/Erica Demarest

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Efforts to try a teenage girl as an adult in the Endia Martin murder case were shut down by a Cook County judge on Tuesday.

The girl, now 15, was charged last year with first-degree murder after she fatally shot 14-year-old Endia and wounded another girl, 16, following a Facebook feud. The shooter was 14 at the time.

The shooter, victims and several others had arranged to physically fight on the afternoon of April 28, 2014, authorities said. The shooter got a .38 caliber revolver from her uncle, and shot Endia once in her back as Endia ran away.

During a three-hour hearing Tuesday, Assistant State's Attorney Athena Farmakis argued that "first-degree murder is not a juvenile crime" and said the shooter's actions were pre-mediated and calculated.

But Judge Rodney Hughes Brooks said he "must balance the seriousness of the offense with the minor's history."

The girl charged in this case has no other criminal background and was described by teachers as a good student, according to court testimony.

"What started out as mutual combat by teenagers turned into a tragedy with adult intervention," Judge Brooks said.

Moving forward, the girl will be tried as a juvenile. Though an adult trial could've brought with it a hefty sentence, the girl will now likely be released from custody when she's 21.

Public defenders on Tuesday discussed adolescent brain development — arguing that a teenage brain is more impulsive and more susceptible to peer influence than a fully developed adult brain.

According to Assistant Public Defender Elizabeth Tarzia, only 5 to 10 percent of juvenile offenders "continue on to delinquency as their brains mature."

By keeping the girl charged in this case in juvenile custody, Tarzia argued, there's a good chance the teen can be rehabilitated. Juvenile custody provides educational and therapy opportunities that adult custody does not.

Farmakis, in her closing argument, said "I don't care what the literature says about adolescent brains being less developed than adult brains. .... If that were true, more youth would commit murder."

Farmakis argued that potentially allowing the teen to be released when she's 21 is "sending the wrong message."

The teen's next court date is Nov. 23.

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