Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Judge Denies Motion To Delay Teen's Murder Trial

Michael Hernandez Trial Will Begin May
If Convicted, Hernandez Faces Life In Prison

MIAMI (CBS4) ― A Miami judge has rejected a motion that would have delayed next months trial of a South Florida teen accused of stabbing a classmate to death when the boys were both in grade school.

''I'm only sure of a few things - we have to pay taxes on April 15, we all will die one day and that this case is going to trial on May 19,'' said Miami-Dade Circuit Judge John Schlesinger.

Tuesday an attorney for 19-year old Michael Hernandez submitted a motion to delay the trial because the teen was recently put on new medication and one of the psychiatrists they planned to use as a defense expert would be unable to give an opinion on his mental state without a full re-examination over a period of weeks.

Hernandez's attorney, Richard Rosenbaum, plans to argue that the boy was insane when he killed Jamie Gough in a rest room at Southwood Middle School in 2004.

Rosenbaum says Hernandez is an obsessive compulsive, mentally disturbed boy, who did not have the capacity to understand what he was doing when he confessed to police about Gough's murder.

Charged as an adult, Hernandez could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.

Child welfare advocates have argued that children who commit horrible crimes should not be treated or punished as adults because they think, act and perceive the world differently than adults and that confessions probably are made in a state of confusion.

Psychologist Barry Rosenthal of Fordham University says that almost one month before the death of Jamie Gough, Hernandez displayed "bizarre behavior". He said, "Michael created a rigid schedule down to chewing snacks in school, the time he would have to go to bed, how many times he would circle the cul de sac on his bike." Rosenthal then said Michael started "punishing himself for violations of his schedule that gradually increased to cutting himself".

A psychiatrist for the prosecution has admitted that the boy had some bizarre behaviors but his thinking is logical and he is in his right mind to comprehend what he has allegedly done.

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