An 11-year-old Florida girl won't be criminally charged with the January shooting death of her teenage brother, a judge has ruled.
According to Third Judicial Circuit State Attorney Jeff Siegmeister, the state has declined to proceed further with criminal charges against the girl in the death of her 16-year-old brother, Damien Kornegay.
Police said Kornegay was shot and killed in the family's Lake City, Florida, home. The 11-year-old was initially arrested and charged with premeditated murder along with her 15-year-old sister.
The incident happened on Monday, Jan. 5, at around 10 p.m. at the Kornegay residence. The parents were not home at the time.
After the shooting, the two sisters walked about two miles to the Dollar General Store in nearby White Springs, Fla., leaving their 3-year-old sister at the home. White Springs Police Officer Bradley Meeks stated he received a phone call about two runaways at the store, so he and Officer Joseph Dyess responded.
The 15-year-old told the officers that Damien had beaten her, thrown her into her bedroom and locked the door from the outside. She said she waited until her brother went to sleep and she summoned her 11-year-old sister to unlock her door. The 15-year-old then retrieved a handgun from her parents’ bedroom and shot her brother as he slept, killing him.
The WSPD officers contacted Columbia County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) and they dispatched deputies to the home. That's where deputies discovered Damien Kornegay dead on the living room floor, apparently from a gunshot wound. Police later determined that the 15-year-old shot her brother, while the 11-year-old sister assisted, though it wasn’t clear how she helped. The two girls were arrested and charged with premeditated murder by CCSO.
“The state has announced in court and filed in writing a 'No Petition' in this case,” said Siegmeister in a Feb. 5 press release. “The 'No Petition' is a legal document indicating that no formal charges of any nature will be filed in this case as to this child. In reaching this decision, I considered the facts of the case, the mental and emotional status of the child, and the overall familial history and dynamics in reaching this decision.”
The case against the 15-year-old is still pending review for potential charges, if any, Siegmeister added.
“Charges have not been filed at this time,” he said.
The 15-year-old was released from the Department of Juvenile Justice detention custody and placed in a non-custodial setting pursuant to the agreement of the parties, Florida law, and the order of the Court, according to Siegmeister.
The parents of the children are still being investigated by the State Attorney’s Office for any potential charges in the case. The 3-year-old is in the care of the Department of Children & Families. The investigation is ongoing.
Joyce Marie Taylor writes for the Suwannee (Fla.) Democrat.