By Jan Carabeo and David Madden
WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) — Three teenage girls faced their fate Thursday morning, charged in the death of their 16-year-old classmate Amy Joyner-Francis.
It took family court Judge Robert Coonin about 20 minutes to read his verdict.
The teen facing the most serious charge of criminally negligent homicide was found delinquent or guilty.
She’s seen in cellphone video beating Joyner-Francis inside a bathroom at Howard High School of Technology.
The judge ruled that the teen caused Joyner-Francis’ death and should have known the attack posed that risk.
Judge Robert Coonin said, “While it may be true that Amy Joyner-Francis, due to her condition would have died from a multitude of stressors, until such an event occurred, if at all, she had a right to live one more day, one more week, one more month or year, until her time, without a contributing cause of another.”
The prosecution now hopes the verdict, finally, will allow the community to heal.
Deputy Attorney General Sean Lugg says, “That sense of normalcy I hope will soon return to that school.”
It’s one year, to the month, since Joyner-Francis’ death.
The victim’s family sat silent in the courtroom. But afterward they said they’re thankful for the guilty verdict.
Spokesperson for the victims’ family, Sherry Dorsey said, “At the end of the day, you cannot brutalize someone, pummel someone in the bathroom and lead to their death and there’s no consequence for that action.”
During the trial, the defense argued Joyner-Francis was a willing participant in this fight and that her death was unforeseeable.
As for the teen found responsible, defense attorney John Deckers said, “From the very moment this occurred there has been a great deal of confusion as to how this would happen. I told her she’ll be fine. She has a family. She’s a good child. This is the first fight she has ever gotten in to.”
“There’s been a lot of children affected by this tragedy. There’s no one who emerges from this unaffected,” Deckers adds.
A second teen charged with conspiracy was also found guilty. The judge described how she helped plan and carry out the attack.
A third teen charged with conspiracy was cleared. All three were tried as juveniles.
Under state law, the two girls punishment will be concluded by their 21st birthday, since they were tried as juveniles. Prosecutors had sought to try the main combatant as an adult.
And it’s possible neither of the guilty will face jail time since the juvenile system has no mandated sentence for any of those charges.
Disposition for the two adjudicated teenagers is scheduled for late next month.