A 16-year-old youth has been is facing multiple felony charges, including a first-degree murder charge, in connection with the fatal shooting of a security guard and two ATM robberies. Police have requested that he be tried as an adult. In Florida, a person arrested for juvenile crimes can be tried as an adult, depending on the suspect’s age and the seriousness of the alleged offense.

The teenager has a criminal record that goes back to the age of 10, and a history of violent felonies on his record. In his latest series of alleged offenses, he was linked to a gun theft on the day of the fatal shooting and to the robbery of a USF student at gunpoint as the victim stood at an ATM. He then allegedly gunned down the security guard, who was working at an apartment complex in Tampa. Two days later, he is alleged to have committed another ATM robbery.

Police say that the suspect seen in ATM surveillance videos of the two robberies is wearing a distinctive bandana. The bandana is similar to one worn by a person seen on another surveillance video, riding a bicycle through the apartment complex where the security guard was killed. DNA found on a bicycle left at the murder scene allegedly matches that of the teenager.

In Florida, the juvenile law system is intended to provide youthful offenders with a chance to rehabilitate themselves and set their lives on a better course before it’s too late. In this case, the state has a good argument that the youth is not amenable to rehabilitation in the juvenile justice system, given his criminal history. Whether the system has failed this teenager, or whether he is simply an incorrigible criminal who needs to be locked up for the safety of society, are questions the judge will have to decide in determining whether he should be tried as an adult.

Source: WTSP.com, “16-year-old murder suspect Larry Brown has long history of violent felonies,” Laura Byrne, Nov. 29, 2012

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