12-year-old accused of killing mom tries to move case to juvenile court

Posted at 9:30 AM, June 25, 2024

MILWAUKEE — Attorneys were back in juvenile court Monday to debate over whether a 12-year-old homicide suspect should be tried as an adult.

In late 2022, the Milwaukee boy was charged with killing his mom because she would not buy him a virtual reality headset.

Scripps News is not naming the child, since the ongoing case discusses potentially moving him to juvenile court. His attorneys want him to be tried in the juvenile court system and are pursuing a reverse waiver, a move there would provide more wraparound services than the adult system.

milwaukee boy charged with mom's murder

A Milwaukee boy accused of fatally shooting his mother in November 2022 colors during a court hearing in his case held Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023. The 11-year-old is being tried as an adult. (Scripps News Milwaukee)

“It became more and more clear that this statute makes it very difficult to do that which is why the need for the constitutional argument came up,” defense attorney Angela Cunningham stated.

Monday morning, the defense made a constitutional challenge to the law if the judge denies it.

Both the state and the judge brought up concerns about the potential impact.

READ MORE | Milwaukee 11-year-old headed to trial for killing mom over VR headset

“It’s certainly within his right to fight the waiver and engage in this reverse waiver hearing, but it seems that with each hearing there is some new reason for delay,” prosecutor Sara Waldschmidt replied.

“My concern about it obviously is it coming 19 months after the beginning of this prosecution and any delays it’s going to cause for this youth who’s been in detention now for 19 months and we’re not even at a fact-finding here yet,” Judge Jane Carroll added.

Milwaukee boy kills mom

This photo provided by Scripps News Milwaukee shows the home where a 10-year-old boy allegedly killed his mother in Milwaukee. (Scripps News Milwaukee)

The defense called two witnesses who work within the Department of Corrections to testify about how offenders are classified and the different services available between the adult and juvenile facilities.

Kristi Zueke, who works in the Bureau of Offender Classification and Movement explained the numerous factors considered when placing an individual at a sit.

“Other than that sentence structure of 30 years or more or life sentence that would be the only hard and fast indicator that they will spend a minimum of three years at max custody,” Zueke testified.

Casey Gerber, director of the Office of Juvenile Offender Review, explained the different treatment and program options at Lincoln Hills geared towards rehabilitation. She added that any juvenile even those tried as an adult would be placed there until their 18th birthday.

Court resumes Tuesday morning.

This story was originally written by Mary Jo Ola at Scripps News Milwaukee, an E.W. Scripps Company.