BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The 8-year-old arrested in connection with the death of 1-year-old Kelci Lewis will not be charged as an adult.
Police learned that Kelci was left at home with children ranging from 2 to 8 years old and no adult supervision. The mother of the 1-year-old left the house to go to the nightclub with her friend, the homeowner.
While the two adults were at the club, the 8-year-old boy allegedly attacked the 1-year-old because the baby wouldn’t stop crying. The baby suffered head trauma and internal organ damage, which lead to her death.
The suspects have been identified as Katerra Lewis, 26, and an 8-year-old boy, both of Birmingham. Katerra Lewis was taken to the Jefferson County Jail, but posted her $15,000 bond.
“Charges have been brought forth, she’s made bond, she’s had a trial through the court, but her punishment is something I think she is going to have to live with for the rest of her life,” said Lt. Sean Edwards of Birmingham Police. “Her actions that night, choosing the club over taking care of her 1-year-old is going to stick with her the rest of her life.”
The 8-year-old suspect is currently in custody of DHR.
The 8-year-old “is not and will not be charged as an adult,” a press release from the District Attorney’s office states.
According to the release, minors in Alabama are “never charged with a criminal offense, but is charged with being a juvenile delinquent.”
In all of his years in law enforcement, Edwards said he’d never charged anyone that young with murder. However, attorney Eric Guster said there will be a distinct difference in the way the court handles an 8-year-old murder suspect versus an adult murder suspect.
“The difference between an adult and a child being charged with murder is very important, children being charged with anything, the issue is to try and rehabilitate the child,” said Guster. “Juvenile court is designed to rehabilitate children, and make them better citizens before they’re adults, so it’s going to be very interesting how the court handles this one, being that it’s a murder charge.”
Lewis is set to appear in court on November 30 at 9:00 a.m.