Delaware judge convicts girl in fatal school bathroom fight

Cheryl Sanders
April 14, 2017

A 17-year-old DE girl has been convicted of homicide almost a year after she was involved in a DE high school bathroom fight that left another teenage girl dead.

The girl, who authorities said was largely responsible for assaulting Amy Joyner-Francis, 16, also was found guilty of third-degree criminal conspiracy in the bench trial in Delaware Family Court.

An autopsy found that Joyner-Francis, who had a rare and undiagnosed heart condition, died of sudden cardiac death aggravated by physical and emotional stress from the fight.

The News Journal reports that the assailant Trinity Carr was ultimately convicted of criminally negligent homicide for her role in the fight.

Coonin ruled past year that the girl charged with homicide would be tried as a juvenile.

All three teens were tried as juveniles.

Cellphone video taken the morning of the fight by one of the two other students involved in the fight shows Carr repeatedly striking Amy in the head and torso area with her fist.

'(Carr) struck the first blow without warning, carried on a relatively brief but violent attack... and she had to be pulled off her victim, ' Coonin said, according to The News Journal.

The physical and mental toll caused by the attack triggered a preexisting heart condition and caused her to die from a sudden cardiac death, the medical examiner's office said.

A witness for the defense, Dr. Richard Ringel, a professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said the severity of Joyner-Francis rare condition made it impossible to conclude whether Joyner-Francis likely would be alive today. An autopsy found that Joyner-Francis fingernails were ripped out during the fight.

Sherry Dorsey Walker, former Wilmington councilwoman who represented Joyner-Francis" family, as a spokesperson, said "the message has been sent that there are consequences to your actions'.

During proceedings attorneys litigated questions such as what a "reasonable" 16-year-old should expect as a result from a fight, what type of clothing is worn by kids preparing to fight, and whether Joyner-Francis was a victim of a planned attack by the three girls, as prosecutors allege.

All three girls charged in the case chose not to testify.

Coonin ruled past year that the girl charged with homicide would be tried as a juvenile. Carr faces court supervision until she's 19 and will undergo youth rehabilitative services.

Carr's attorney, John Deckers, argued that Carr shouldn't be held culpable for Joyner-Francis" death because a reasonable person would expect the effect of a school fight "is not death, but rather discipline'. They also suggested that she was a willing participant in a fight between "mutual combatants".

Other reports by iNewsToday