A 12-year-old boy was indicted Thursday on first-degree murder charges in the beating death of his 2-year-old brother.
Cristian Fernandez beat David Galarriago on March 14 at the Carrington Place Apartments in the 11800 block of Alden Road, according to the state attorney's office. The toddler died at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center two days later from blunt force trauma to the head, prosecutors said.
Fernandez is the youngest person ever indicted on murder charges in Duval County.
"The fact that we indicted a 12-year-old in and of itself is a stunning event and a sad event in our prosecutorial lives that we had to do this, but it is the only legal mechanism that we can use to protect the community from this particular defendant at this point," State Attorney Angela Corey said.
Details of the killing have not yet been released.
Bianella Susana, Fernandez's mother, was home at the time of the beating, along with the 12-year-old's two other half-siblings, Corey said.
Susana has been charged with negligent manslaughter.
No one was at the family's home Thursday to comment on the indictment. Corey said the family moved to Jacksonville to Miami less than a year ago.
"In a case of this magnitude where the facts are absolutely provable as first-degree murder, then the only way that we can trust that we can fashion any kind of a sentence that both protects the public and at some point tries to help someone who is 12 years old and commits a first-degree murder is to put it in the adult system and work from there," Corey said.
Fernandez was being housed with other juveniles at the Duval County Jail. He was given access to a counselor.
Before Thursday's indictment, the youngest person to be indicted in Duval County was a 13-year-old who killed a correctional officer decades ago.