16 Year Old Texas Girl Charged With Capital Murder


A 16 year old Texas girl was recently arrested for capital murder in relation to the arson deaths of three people.  Capital murder is a murder with an aggravating circumstance.  These circumstances are statutorily defined, and one of them is the murder of multiple people.  In Texas, when a person under the age of 17 commits an offense, the State cannot prosecute that person as an adult unless a judge certifies him or her as an adult.  Once they are legally “an adult” they can face the full range of punishment for penal code offenses.  If a person is convicted of capital murder there are only two possible punishments under Texas law:  death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

However, in the past decade the Supreme Court of the United States has placed limits on who can receive the death penalty.  In Atkins v. Virginia, decided in 2002, the Court held that it was cruel and unusual punishment to execute a mentally retarded person. Three years later the Court held, in the case of Roper v. Simmons , that it was also unconstitutional to execute someone for a crime that person committed while he or she was less that 18 years of age.

Thus, if the Texas girl described in the article above were certified as an adult, and then convicted of capital murder, she could be sentenced to life without parole, but not death.  If you or a loved one have been charged with a violent crime, call the Law Office of The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp today for a free consultation.