12-Year-Old Arraigned On Murder Charge

Published On: Oct 28 2011 01:21:55 PM EDT
Updated On: Jun 08 2011 04:11:07 AM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A 12-year-old Jacksonville boy was arraigned in court Wednesday morning on a charge of first-degree murder, according to Local 6 News partner WJXT-TV.

Cristian Fernandez has pleaded not guilty to beating and killing his 2-year-old brother, David Galarriago.

Fernandez is the youngest person to be indicted on murder charges in Duval County as an adult.

The boy was in handcuffs and chains and didn't say anything as he walked slowly into the courtroom for his arraignment.

Fernandez's attorney, Rob Mason, said the boy is competent, but he may bring in some other experts in the future to examine him.

Mason said he took issue with Fernandez being housed in isolation in an adult jail.

"He is currently at the (Duval County) Jail, and I told the child before that when I was with him in first appearance that I would be making a motion to this court to try and get him back to the Duval (Regional Juvenile) Detention Center," Mason told the judge.

That request could take time, and Judge Libby Senterfitt said she will take up that motion at a later date.

Senterfitt did talk with Fernandez and asked him questions about waiving his right to a speedy trial.

Judge: "Mr. Fernandez, you have discussed with your attorney your right to a speedy trial?"

Fernandez: "Yes."

Judge: "Do you know how many days that is?"

Fernandez: "One-hundred seventy-five."

Judge: "One-hundred seventy-five, that is right. OK, and you are wishing to waive that at this time?""

Fernandez: "Yes."

Judge: "OK, we will show the waiver of speedy trial at this time."

After the exchange, prosecutor Mark Caliel said that there has been so much media attention on the case that he asked the judge to impose a gag order, despite himself and the public defender having been very open in talking about the case and the boy's background in the past week.

"Further comments to the media, especially pertaining to the background of the defendant and the facts and circumstances of the case appear to be in violation of the rules of professional conduct," Caliel told the judge. "We have a concern that any comments being interpreted by a potential jury pool could inhibit our ability to fairly and adequately try this case."

Fernandez's next scheduled court appearance is July 21.

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