A 15-year-old Braselton resident who reportedly told police last week she shot her mother in the back of the head at their home, killing her, may not necessarily be tried as an adult in her murder.
The girl, whose name has not been released due to her age, was arrested Friday after telling police she fired a 9mm handgun while her mother was watching TV and using her computer, according to the Braselton Police Department. Her mother, 1st Sgt. Karen Moore, 42, was an Army recruiter in Athens.
The case originally was sent to Barrow County for prosecution, but on Tuesday Braselton Police moved the case from Barrow to Gwinnett County. The Falls of Braselton subdivision where the shooting took place falls squarely on the line between the two counties, and Braselton Police officials said because Barrow County emergency services were the first to arrive on the scene, that’s where they assumed jurisdiction was.
Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter, who is taking the case from Barrow County, said there are several factors he needs to consider before moving ahead with charging the teen as an adult.
“I want to look at what caused this, because you have a child who apparently has had no problems,” Porter said. “To kind of go from zero to 100 in one incident. ... And I want to look at the GBI report and what the Braselton Police have to say.”
In Georgia, anyone older than 13 who is charged with murder is automatically entered into the court system as an adult. But Porter said before the teen is indicted he can move the case to juvenile court.
The teenager made her first appearance Monday at Barrow County’s magistrate court, where no bond was set due to the murder charge and she remains in a Gwinnett County juvenile detention facility.
The next step is an appearance before a grand jury. In Gwinnett, the grand jury meets once a week, but it could take weeks to gather the evidence in the case. At the very least, according to Stacy Sonnenschein, assistant to the DA, the teen should before a grand jury in the next 90 days.
“At this point, warrants come to our office, then we start putting our file together,” said Smith of the process for the district attorney’s office.