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Murderous Children: Cristian Fernandez (12) Killed His 2-Year-Old Brother

The Face of a "Cold Blooded Murderer"?

The mugshot of 12-Year-Old Cristian Fernandez, after he was arrested for the death of his younger brother

The mugshot of 12-Year-Old Cristian Fernandez, after he was arrested for the death of his younger brother

Biannela Susana, the 25-Year-Old Mother of Both Murderer and Victim

Biannela Susana was arrested for aggravated manslaughter in the death of her son, David.  Does she bear even more responsibility for what happened?

Biannela Susana was arrested for aggravated manslaughter in the death of her son, David. Does she bear even more responsibility for what happened?

What Happens When A Broken & Abused Child Snaps?

A toddler is dead, and another young boy, his older brother, could spend the rest of this life in prison as punishment. The question is - is charging a 12-year-old boy with first-degree murder, and trying him as an adult (a charge which carries a mandatory life sentence), a boy who was severely neglected and abused his entire life by those who were supposed to protect him, really serving justice?

It was Monday, March 14th, 2011, when 2-year-old David Galarraga was left at his Jacksonville, Florida home, under the supervision and care of his older half-brother, Cristian Fernandez, despite the fact that Cristian had already broken David's leg while wrestling with him months beforehand. What happened that day would change both of their lives forever, and has sparked a very emotional and heated debate about the way the judicial system handles juveniles accused of serious and heinous crimes.

While the story of what exactly occurred that day has changed many times, the basic facts are still the same: at some point while his mother was gone, 12-year-old Cristian became physically abusive with his 2-year-old brother, and shoved him very roughly into a bookshelf, twice. Later that day, upon his mother arriving home, Cristian, who was worried about his brother, took her to see David immediately, who was unconscious by that time. For some reason, their mother, 25-year-old Biannela Susana, chose simply to change the babies clothes, wipe the blood off his face, and put ice on his head, rather than calling 911 or rushing him to the hospital immediately, despite the fact that he was unconscious and unresponsive. Susana said that she was hoping it was just a concussion and that he would wake up. She waited over 4 hours, while poor David remained unconscious, before finally taking him to the hospital. David remained there, fighting hard for his life, for 2 days before he finally succumbed to his injuries and passed away.

As for the more than 4 hours that Biannela Susana waited before seeking medical care for her son; she spent most of that time on the internet. She took the time to do some online banking, watched some music videos on YouTube, read some news stories online about Pippa Middleton, as well as David & Victoria Beckham, and checked her email. She did some other searches periodically while on the computer, including the phrase "when someone gets knocked out", she also visited the Wikipedia page for "coma", and visited a website about concussions multiple times, none of which seemed to have scared her or propelled her into action.

She finally did her last web search, for the address of the hospital which she would then drive her son to, and where he would eventually die, over 4 hours after she returned home and found him unconscious. David died 2 days later from his injuries, which included a skull fracture caused by blunt force trauma, which caused bleeding on his brain, and was the ultimate cause of his death. In addition, he also suffered from a subdural hemorrhage, subdural hematoma, bruising on the left eye, and bruising on the bridge of his nose.

Those 4 hours, unfortunately, could have been what cost David his life, as Doctors told Susana that if she had sought medical help immediately, he might have survived. For her part in her son's death, Biannela Susana was arrested on April 1st, 2011, and has been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child under 18 years by culpable negligence. This is due not only to the fact that Susana did not seek medical treatment for her son immediately, but also because she was fully aware that Cristian was responsible previously for breaking David's leg, but she still chose to leave David alone with him.

Cristian Fernandez was initially arrested for Aggravated Child Abuse on March 14th, 2011, but after David's death, on June 3rd of 2011, his was indicted for first-degree murder.

The real question we need to ask ourselves as the citizens whose rely on the judicial system to serve and protect us; are children as responsible as adults for their actions? or are the adults who failed them the ones who bear the true responsibility when these children act out?

Justice for Juveniles Video on Cristian's case, and the impossible position he is in

Cristian Fernandez Arrest Report

Page 1 of 2, Cristian's original arrest report.

Page 1 of 2, Cristian's original arrest report.

Page 2 of 2, Cristian's original arrest report.

Page 2 of 2, Cristian's original arrest report.

What Happened & Why?

The question of whether a person's past trauma can be used to excuse or explain their criminal behaviour has always raised a lot of controversy. Regardless of what side of the issue you are on, one thing is for certain; we need to be open to hearing their stories if we want to have any hope of understanding how a person can become a criminal, and do something as tragic and disturbing as taking someone's life, so that we can hopefully help to prevent it in the future.

Cristian Fernandez's story is so horrid and twisted that it sounds like some crazy, far-fetched movie plot. The only life Cristian and his siblings, including poor David, have known has been filled with violence, pain, abuse, and neglect. In his short life, he has endured far more trauma than most people will ever experience in their entire life, he has experienced more pain than most people can even imagine.

The story starts with Cristian's birth, on January 14th, 1999, in theory. Though really this entire tragedy was put into motion over 9 months before, when Cristian was conceived from a relationship between his 12-year-old mother, Biannela Susana, and Jose Antonio Fernandez, his 20-year-old father. He was criminally charged because of the relationship, but avoided incarceration after vowing to raise the boy. He was instead given ten years probation, and is now a registered sex offender. Jose was around on for a while on a regular basis to hang out with his son, but he was not the primary care giver. It wouldn't be too long before he broke his vow, and completely disappeared from Cristian's life.

Read More From Owlcation

Obviously, at the age of only 12, his mother was incapable of properly caring for him by herself, but apparently the only real help she had came from her 34-year-old mother, who was a drug addict, and really no help at all. When Cristian was just 2, and his mother 14, they were both removed from the custody of Biannela's mother and put into foster care, after authorities found a dirty and naked Cristian walking around by himself outside a Florida motel while his grandmother was doing drugs inside.

Things went from bad to worse for Cristian after that. His mother began dating, and eventually married Luis Galarraga-Blanco, when Cristian was around 7 years old. By this point, Cristian's father, who had been a part of his son's life in some way from the time he was out of prison until that point, decided to step aside and not get in the middle of the family relationship, and it was the last time he would see his son over the years that passed. By that time, Biannela, then 23, already had 3 more children by Luis. As multiple people around the family have testified, Luis had a very bad temper, and was physically abusive towards Cristian, and his siblings. Neighbours also commented that Cristian always seemed quiet and withdrawn, and that he was solely responsible for doing all the chores and adult tasks around the house, including cooking and cleaning.

On October 22nd, 2010, a then 11-year-old Cristian showed up at school with a swollen eye, which would be the catalyst for another horrifically traumatic experience in his young life. When Cristian was questioned by officers about this swollen eye, he told them that his stepfather had punched him in the face that morning. His eye was severely injured enough that he was taken the hospital to be assessed for retinal damage.

While Cristian was at the hospital, his mother and the Department of Children's Services were called to the school, where a discussion took place. After Luis refused to come to the school for questioning, the police went to his apartment to arrest him. He would not answer his cell phone, nor answer the door when police arrived. They were not prepared for the door to be opened by a frightened little girl, who immediately ran back into the rear bedroom, trailing bloody footprints behind her, nor were they prepared for the gruesome discovery that would follow. Luis Galarraga-Blanco was discovered dead, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head. He had committed suicide in front of his children, including David, then only a year old, who was found covered in blood, and Cristian, accused now in the murder of David, his half-brother.

Galarraga-Blanco is believed to have killed himself not only to avoid prosecution for physically abusing Cristian, but also because he is alleged to have been sexually abusing him as well. Doctors who have examined Cristian have stated that he shows signs of long term sexual abuse. In addition, two forensic psychiatrists have concluded that he is emotionally under-developed, but that and his tough life, he is still, essentially "reformable".

State attorney Angela Corey has chosen, despite all the evidence of the horrific, and obviously damaging, childhood that Cristian has had to endure, to try the 12-year-old boy as an adult. She has stated that she has no choice, and that despite the abuse, neglect, and other trauma that Cristian has suffered, there are many kids who come from even worse backgrounds than his, and the court can't allow the horror he has suffered to be used as an "excuse". If Christian were tried as a juvenile, rather than an adult, he would be given the chance of rehabilitation, and would be allowed out at the age of 21. Being tried as an adult means that if found guilty, the 12-year-old boy will be given a mandatory sentence of life in prison, without the chance of parole. The controversial question is; is that really justice, to send a broken child to jail for life? or are we truly being protected from a violent boy who will possibly turn into a very dangerous man?

Short Clip: Cristian in court the day he pleads "not guilty" to first-degree murder

Preparing for their trials...

Now 13-year-old Christian at a pre-trial hearing earlier this year.  He is being charged with first-degree-murder as an adult in the death of his younger brother.

Now 13-year-old Christian at a pre-trial hearing earlier this year. He is being charged with first-degree-murder as an adult in the death of his younger brother.

26-year-old Biannela Susana appearing in court prior to her trial on Aggravated Manslaughter charges in the death of her 2-year-old son.

26-year-old Biannela Susana appearing in court prior to her trial on Aggravated Manslaughter charges in the death of her 2-year-old son.

Protestors at a "Justice for Cristian" Rally

Protestors at a "Justice for Cristian" Rally

Trial and Sentencing

Cristian has already gone through his arraignment and all his other preliminary hearings, and has been denied his appeal request to be tried as a juvenile, and has been officiallycharged as an adult. His trial for the charge of first-degree murder was set to start on February 27th, 2012, but it appears that a pre-trial hearing was continued from February 8th until the 27th, so the official starting date of his trial will be pushed back.

Biannela's separate trial for Aggravated Manslaughter due to Culpable Negligence was also set to start on February 27th, 2012, but has also been delayed. Her next hearing is scheduled for sometime in March, when a new trial date will likely be set.

There are many people who are very upset that Cristian is being tried as an adult, despite the fact that he was 12 years old at the time of David's death, and also because David could possibly have survived had their mother, Biannela Susana, sought medical attention for David immediately. If you would like to support Cristian, please consider joining one or both of the following facebook groups;

Justice for Cristian:

Support Cristian Fernandez:

or you can show your support by electronically signing the following petition;

Is a 12-year-old as responsible for his crimes as an adult?


Kaylee on May 02, 2020:

That stuff is crazy and my heart is melted.

Dominique Cantin-Meaney from Montreal, Canada on February 16, 2020:

Such a sad story.

Bobbie on January 04, 2020:

I have always heard that hindsight is 20/20. I believe that in Christians case. The letter at the end of the program from his mother tells volumns! I pray that from the day he was released his life will be everything he could ever imagine and he will have much happiness in his life

Crystal Peterson on November 12, 2019:

Cristian is out of prison and I pray that he’s doing well he got out last year may god protect him and keep him safe always please keep cristian on the right path amen

Lynette Cornelius on July 02, 2019:

This child suffered so much when he should have been loved. He needs a second chance at life. My heart breaks for him and his little brother. May God bless him and lead his life.

Tricia G. on May 12, 2019:

My heart aches for Cristian. I would like the chance to say, you didn’t deserve this. Sending warm safe hugs

Ms. Scarter on May 12, 2019:

All the comments that blame his abuse that he endured is what caused him to do this heinous crime is bs!! He is old enough to know right from wrong! It is so sad that he had to endure all the abuse that he did, but, wouldn’t that make him NOT want to hurt another individual? He knows how the pain he felt. Why would he want to do it to another human being....especially a 2 year old? I was abused when I was younger. That is a pain I’ll never forget! I would/will not ever want to put another person through that pain. So, yes, if he really did do the crime, then he does deserve the sentence he received. If He did an adult crime, now, do the adult time! His mother, that piece of sh*t, also needs to be charged with murder. Per the story on A&E, he’s covering for that piece of sh*t! She needs to rot in hell. The true facts need to come out and prosecute the right person! You know, karma is a bitch!!!

Luis M. Flores on April 28, 2019:

Christian never have a chance to live descent and simple life like any human being. He is product of sexual abuse from a mother who was 12 year, neither of the parent were committed to care of him and never was give a chance on life like normal child life. The child abuse protection agency should have keep and raise Christian and all the sibling since mother was no a choice neither any immediate family. It is very sad for this poor child and the one that has died (kill) . The father or mother should never has give chance to be raise this childrens they never show any sign of been qualify persons. The justice should have in consideration the children situation prior to consider trie him as an adult and not give him chance to rehabilitated and incorporate to the society.

Patricia Roberts on April 28, 2019:

Staci F, I just watched it too. I feel so sad for this child!!! I wonder how he is now?? He needs SO MUCH therapy, and so many hugs!!!

Staci f on April 28, 2019:

Shocked!!!! I just watched a show on A&E and his first attorney quit the case because he didn’t want Christian to take the plea Deal and that is because Christian was cone ring for his mom. She never left the house! He woke up to her beating David and then she told him that if called the police he would never see her again. She talked him into taking the blame since he would eventually get out since he was so young! What a piece of shit!!!!

Diane Montano on April 02, 2019:

Question Is Cristian the same child that was cursing at Mc Donalds. Spitting at his mother. Is this the child who carried a switch Blade, going around cursing, grabbing woman. If so, this poor child's soul is lost.

tanner on March 13, 2019:

this is so sad! i'm so sorry for what you have been through, cristian!

Roo on March 02, 2019:

This is so sad. This boy was made a monster through years of systematic sexual, physical and mental abuse and he has probably continued to receive that abuse in prison.

People who are abused, often become abusers. I don't know enough about whether that is something counselling could help with so although I feel he was made into this monster and that is obviously in no way his fault, there is the possibility that he could hurt or kill more people if not treated correctly... Which I don't know how that would go

Kim Joyner on February 08, 2019:

My heart aches. When I see children that have to suffer twice. While the parents get off free. When you look at some of these cases.It is because of the parents that the children end up how they are. It the choices that we make that has our kids suffering for our mess up.

KaoriKnight on December 27, 2018:


Your story sounds uncannily similar to mine and I agree, I was never an example of "the abused becomes the abuser" either. I have always been extremely empathic and can't wrap my head around how people hurt and abuse, especially children and babies.

aaron on November 26, 2018:

thats crazy man

Emma Matheny on October 08, 2018:

bendice sus almas

Desi cuevas on September 18, 2018:

He is covering up for his mami sad cause thats how much he loves her even though she neglected the hell outta him. Pobresito hijo. Save cristian!!

MsMcDaniel on August 09, 2018:

@Naive I am a sexual , physical, and mental abuse survivor. Given to my mother's fiancee at age 8, to do with as he pleased, which included on a regular basis- rape, beatings, and mental torture for many years, did not make me in turn become an abuser myself. I wonder, where did your "fact " regarding this come from?

Betty Ann on July 04, 2018:

This is terrible! My heart breaks for Christian. His mother needs to serve time for whatever Christan did (who knows maybe she did it?) that poor little boy has NEVER got to be a child! As a survivor of a stepfather molesting me, Christan needs lots of therapy and a loving home! He needs someone to help him with school, give him real love, feed him, friends, a life! This child needs lots of prayers, God bless Christan!

Gina on June 06, 2018:

So I watched this story on juvenile lifers the other night and I am still haunted by this story, some people don't have all the facts. This is what I believe happened, When they say he broke the brothers leg a few months prior, the mother probably did that too and told him to say he did it so she would not get in trouble like she did in this situation also. The documentary shows she lied and said she was out when cell phone records show she never left the house. She gets all the blame from never protecting Christian as a child from being battered, sexually abused, among other things. She told cops she came home to find baby unconscious but cleaned him up and never thought to take baby to hospital. What mother leaves a 12yr old (with issues) to babysit a 2 yr old. Anyway, she was right there and told Cristian to take the blame, and that he wouldn't have a long sentence( he admitted his mother beat the baby with a hair brush which woke him up), but if they convict her that he would never see her again. I agree, that he needs some kind of counseling and a program to get him prepared for society. His mother deserves life in prison or the death penalty. That child was treated wrong from the beginning, especially being held in solitary confinement in an adult prison for 3 weeks. Pure torture. Then he meets with his mom after his confession and she didn't even care about the poor boy and told him to leave the room. Pure evil. Even if she had a baby at 12 at the hands of a child molester, continued to put her son in harms way and have more children, then the son of a b**** kills himself in from of the kids including Christian after he punched Christian in the eye that he had to go to the hospital for.

Christian pleaded guilty and probation and can't be around kids under 16 yrs old. I wonder how is he doing today with life and if he will ever tell his story. They really need to change the criminal system for kids and adults and get more rehab for all. Jail is not the answer for everyone who commits a crime.

Gale Deleon on June 04, 2018:

The mother should be sentenced for life in prison due to murdering David and due to all the pain and abused she has caused Christian hernandez...

Mark Senterfitt Jr on June 04, 2018:

Un believe just unbelievable this is why the world is the way it is today. This is absolute craziness I don't even want to be involved in this society that people do this to people nor do I want to be associated with Americans that do this to any child nor do I want to say I'm a part of this community and Duval County people that prosecuted him I'm sure cannot sleep at night and if they do they are heartless devils

Queen Doll on March 16, 2018:

NOOO I don't believe he was trying to kill his little brother. If he did, he wouldn't have just shoved his 2 times into the bookshelf, he would have done it multiple times. Smh he only 12 and has serious anger issues, jail wont help him, he needs to be put in juvenile detention center until he's 18 and attend some anger issue program to help he be calm down not jail. But he's Black so of course he's trialed as an adult but a 16 yr old white boy that kills his mom isn't trialed as an adult

Genelle Campbell on January 12, 2018:

This whole story is completely devastating. This little boy was SET UP TO FAIL. He never stood a chance at normal growth & development, let alone life. Not sure how to fix it, but life in prison is not the answer.

Tiffany nicolas on October 23, 2017:

You have to be a special kind of evil to sacrifice your child to cover up a crime you commuted. People need to know the true story. I hope her life is short and miserable and after that I hope she burns in hell.

instagram- jasmine_hernandez_2201544 on October 02, 2017:

this is so sad this is why i tell my mom to get a baby sitter i need to show her this and if u read this u gotta relize that parents think its ok to leave your kids with ur other kid well no because who is gonna take care of your kid that is taking care of the little one and if u do get a baby sitter u cant just get a random person you gotta ask them if they have papers u goota ask for there info and if u dont care just think wat if that was your kid

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on July 06, 2017:

This is a very interesting article. I feel like not only is the toddler a victim, so his Cristian and his mother. It was good that you went back to their childhood lives so we could understand all the complexities of this story that can't be covered in a court trial.

Carrie on July 04, 2017:

How can you punish a child that was never given the tools for success. Some have said that he knew right from wrong... But did he really? He grew up around so much wrong & that was his normal. That's all he knew.

Eileen Marie on June 20, 2017:

Do you know that his mother was in the apartment the entire time?

Do you know that he confessed to his 1st attorney that his mother beat his brother, and that he was covering for her?

Do you know he plead guilty to save her, that she wrote him letters to take the first plea offered?

Do you know that they still chose to prosecute an innocent 12 year old knowing this?

Do you know a 12 year old can't vote?

Do you know a 12 year old can't drive?

Do you know a 12 year old can't consume alcohol?

Do you know that they put a 12 year old in solitary confinement for 2 weeks in an adult prison?

Do you know that they wanted to put this 12 year old in an adult prison at age 12 for a crime he didn't commit?

This is our judicial system at its finest.

Hobbs on June 20, 2017:

Maybe mother committed the act and poor Christian took the blame? Cellphone records reveal it never left the house. That would explain why she didn't call for help right away. Hmmm

anonymous on March 15, 2017:

Just watched this full story last night with the most up to date information included. After 50 minutes of my fiance and I coming to our own conclusions you find out the mother beat the child in the head with a brush handle until he passed out. This Cristian took the blame for his mother. She can never be tried again for this crime. If that's not injustice I don't know what is. The love of one child for his mother protecting the loveless crime of killing a sibling. Cristian will most probably grow up extremely troubled.

Ace on March 14, 2017:

The mom broke the leg and blamed her son the mom killed the 2 year old and got her son to take the blame. The mom is pure evil and the son took the blame.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on July 10, 2016:

Everyone seems to be a child here. The mother was a child who gave birth to another child, Christian, who, together with his mother, killed the youngest child. The father was a pervert. The grandmother was a drug addict. What a horrible scenario this was.

Anonymous on April 22, 2016:

I disagree with the majority of the comments on this hub. You guys have too much black and white thinking. You truly think that everyone in jail had simple lives and deserve to be there. A lot of them struggled and were mistreated before they got there.

There is no such thing as actual justice in this world. Justice means righting the wrong in this world. You can not undo crimes. You can lock people up so they won't commit them again, but you can't make it so the crimes never happened. You can't fix the world so it's as good as new. Every crime is a tragedy. Everyone is still in pain because of what occured. Sending someone to prison fixes nothing. All it does is make no other crimes committed by the same person in the future.

Beating someone to death is very violent and very serious. The reason you guys sympathize with this boy is because you have no idea what it actually looks like for someone to be beaten to death. I've seen crime scene photos. Shooting someone is usually pretty tame and not that bad looking. Beating them to death or stabbing them is really disgusting and graphic on the other hand.

He shoved his brother against a cabinet really hard twice. In order for him to kill his brother, to break his skull like this, he had to have watched and heard his brother's skull crack and blood burst from his body. He had to have listened to his brother screaming and begging and yet heartlessly kept going. He was covered in blood by the time his mother came home and I am sure bruises as well. But even though he saw his brother's skull breaking in and heard it cracking, he kept going. He slammed his brother against the book shelves again. It takes a whole lot of heartlessness for a child to do that.

It's not like he pushed his brother and his brother accidentally fell off of something or he shot him in the heart with a bullet (which hardly has any blood) that he thought was a toy. He BEAT him to death. It is very difficult and violent to beat someone to death.

Yes, he had a horrible life. Horrible, just disgusting. And all those people should have been kept away from him and he should have never gone through any of that. Maybe he wouldn't be the person he is today if he had been protected from all of that.

But knowing what a tragedy his life was doesn't change the reality of who he is now. *We* failed him as a society by not protecting him from his situation. He's changed now forever because of our failure. We'd be irresponsible if we let him be around other people and kids in the future and again failed to protect people, from *him* this time.

You guys keep condemning the mother and saying the boy was innocent. But the mother *also* was only 12 years old when she was assaulted by an adult man and raped and forced to give birth to his children. She had a neglectful, horrible mother and she had to be taken away from her family. She remarried to a man who was violent and wound up shooting himself. (You really think she wasn't affected by that? You really think he never laid a hand on her?) You know why this mother is the way she is? Because her mother was a drug addict. Her mother neglected her and didn't protect her from men assaulting her. So when she had kids and her boyfriends sexually assaulted them or abused them, she didn't protect them either. Just like her mother didn't protect her.

She didn't get violent with her kids. Not once does it say she did. Yet you think she is more guilty than this kid who killed his brother. She's not. She had just as tragic of a life as he did. And it really upsets me that they both had tragic lives.

But if we don't eventually go,"No!" to people and force them to break the cycle by punishing them for what they did (maybe their circumstances brought them to this point, but it doesn't matter.) Then it will just continue to be a cycle forever. Every generation will abuse their kids and the next generation will continue the tradition.

Yes, this woman was a horrible mother to her kids, but her mother was a horrible mother to her, and her mother's mother was probably horrible, too. So when are we going to just put our feet down and put a stop to it?

Both of them have to be punished. If they're not, there is no breaking the cycle. He'll have kids that he physically and sexually abuses and they'll have kids that do the same. So on and so forth.

No, everyone does not go on to commit the same crimes as their parents, but this family is having trouble breaking the cycle on their own. I would never believe in putting him to jail for what he had suffered, but that's not why anyone wants to put him to jail. They want it because he made the same decisions as his abusers and everyone needs to face the consequences for their decisions now. At this point, the law has to step in and put a stop to it before there are more victims.

The point of the law is not to *fix* the past. That's impossible at this point.

Should they get all the counseling they need? YES. Both of them should.

I also do not believe either of them should be locked in a maximum security prison, they should get one of the gentler ones because of what they've had to go through in their life.

You guys are just sad and you don't want the reality to be real. This boy died and there's no going back from that. If he had smacked his brother another time and he hadn't died, it would be a different story. But he died and death is forever. The two of them both killed him and there is no going back from that.

He lost his innocent. He is no longer a child. Is it a tragedy? Yes. It's a horrible tragedy that he went through all that and got all his childhood taken from him. But does he deserve prison and to be tried as an adult? Yes. I feel bad for him, but he also has to face the consequences. His brother is dead forever and has to die because of his brother's horrible judgement. He never got to live a life because of his brother's abuse and his mother's neglect.

The world is not black and white. The majority of the time it's a giant tragedy and there are no just solutions to anything.

You're sad because Cristian's abusers weren't punished, but you can't fix that by making his brother's abusers go unpunished. The system is failing again in that case.

Go to a children's hospital and see all the kids dying of cancer. All the innocent kids. Childhood shouldn't be taken from anyone, but it is every day and we can't reverse it. We can't put a bandaid on it or pretend a child who has done certain things or experienced certain things is a child anymore. Because they aren't. Maybe they aren't an adult and maybe he deserves the chance for parole, but he's not an innocent kid anymore like you guys keep claiming he is.

deecoleworld from USA on July 31, 2015:

This is such a heartbreaking case. I think he should be tried as a juvenile, and should be offered a chance at rehabilitation and the possibility of reintegrating into society. I don't think he meant to kill his little brother (though he did mean to hurt him).

He brought into a toxic environment and violence and anger is what he is used to and most comfortable with. I do agree that he is old enough to know right from wrong, even so his judgement and sense of morality is skewed because of his abuse. Hurt people hurt people.

Most of the time I don't believe in rehabilitation, a lot of psychological damage is just too irreversible. Even so, he should be given a chance at life because he was never given a chance. It is not our responsibility to do so per se, but everyone deserves a chance.

Mariam from Potato town on July 25, 2015:

let us be realistic , if a young 12 year old child whatever '' adult '' they call him is being in jail and he can not live his childhood whatever he didn't live it in his OWN home , he didn't found safety love and healthy relationship with his family MEMBERS . He came from a miserable abusive background for heavens sake what we can wait from this child ? hugging his little brother saying to him cute words while he don't know anything about wellness ? OK if the thing had happened he must have good care and not to feel exactly that he is in jail ! Big grown up men they came out deranged what would this child look like when he became big? IF these children or even adults are going to jail they have to be rehabilitated well to have another chance of changing and living NORMAL .

Christina on June 11, 2015:

I personally think that the DA in this case should be put in jail for child cruelty how could you put a 12 year in an adult prison for 3 weeks locked up for 23 hours a day and say is just you the devil and god will see that you get your just reward. This child has been through hell he never asked to be born abused from birth by people that say they loved him. I am not so sure he even did this. I saw the documentary his mother has more to do with this then he does her phone records shows she never left the house. Instead the DA a women who is cold as hell who enjoys putting young children mostly blacks and Hispanics in prison for life sending them straight to adult prison knowing they will be rapped and beating. Lady you got it coming in the worst way ever you say you belong to a church they need to put you out. Your eyes are the window to your soul you have no soul. You are working for the devil is recognizable god is going to expose you in the worst way so the whole world is going to see who you really are....

Rakesh Lal on May 18, 2015:



Amanda M from Unknown on April 03, 2015:

Such a traumatic story. Very interesting and I definitely will vote this up.

Nichol marie from The Country-Side on April 03, 2015:

This is such a sad story.I do believe that the 13 yr old should be tried as an adult .He shouldn't be.allowed to get away With murder he could continue on doing this and the mother so horrible not to call 911 right away

Susan Trump from San Diego, California on April 02, 2015:

Voting Up. Probably the most compelling hub I've read. Thank You.

meme on March 23, 2015:

He is only a baby he did not no that he was going to kill him he a good boy needs someone to help him i no that if he gets out of this he would naver do anything wong again he is a good boy that mom is the one who is wong how can a babby keep a baby hell am 31and if i have to keep a baby its a hell of jod let him go let him go let him go he is only a baby

Swiss on September 22, 2014:

He is just a kid give him a chance. ... Blame The Mother Put Her In Jail For Life .... The Boy waz young and wasn't even suppost to be left with No Babys ...

Em on September 22, 2014:

I heard the full story on the TV program about juveniles in jail for life. The mother lied and said she was out of the home at the time, but her mobile phone puts her at the house or close to it (as opposed to at the store as she said). Plus the little boy (Christian) told his lawyer that he woke up to the sound of his mother swearing and yelling and saw her hitting his little brother with what he thought was a hairbrush. His mother did it and she told him to take the blame because he would be young when he got out of jail unlike her. What a manipulative b*tch. The little boy was even filmed in the interview room rehearsing the story his mother told him to tell. She ruined his whole life and has turned him into a liar to protect herself from the consequence of her murdering his little brother. Poor kid. And that is the problem with charging kids with murders - because kids do anything for their parents (even manipulative ones).

Heather on September 01, 2014:

How about justice for David??? He was 2yrs old!!! 12yr old knows right from wrong... David was a baby!!

kirsten on November 29, 2013:

The mother should never of left her older child alone to babysit a toddler in the first place, its hard work and too much responsibility for another young child, also the older son did not go out of his way to murder his sibling, it was an unfortunate accident, he would of known he would of hurt him but i understand children of his age, i have a 9yr old brother who sometimes looses his temper with my 5yr old brother and sometimes they fight and argue in the heat of the moment, they don't mean it there just kids. I can imagine a 2 year old being very difficult to pacify for a number of hours by a child himself.

Theophanes Avery from New England on September 12, 2013:

So there's this 16 year old white girl who is having the custody of her baby threatened because a doctor took offense to her trying to make her own baby formula (mostly from fresh goat's milk) but other than that the household seems loving, stable and lacking in any real abuse. And here we have a boy who was conceived by a twelve year old by a 20 year old man and then repeatedly beaten, assaulted, shown violence in the home... and no one came in to take him at any point?! There is a limit to the notion that you should keep children with their families - absolutely not if they are that dysfunctional! But perhaps the white baby drinking the goat's milk is easier to adopt at a high price than some poor little minority child who are so hard to adopt out they're given to foster families who are paid to keep them.... This whole thing is screwed up and twisted on so many levels that I have no words for it. Punish the kid, don't punish the kid, I don't think it matters one iota. He's still not going to be able to lead a "normal" productive life. Not with that baggage. That ship has sailed... and sunk...

serena on April 17, 2013:

I agree with shesabutterfly, great pointers. christian was old enough to know right from wrong, I know many people who have come from worse families and have not done any criminal activity, and i work with many children from bad homes being a social worker. but christial is still a child and shoul not be put under an adult charge, he still has time to change his ways and learn from his behavour with a little help, but he wont become a better person if hes locked up for the rest of his life

Kirsten on January 17, 2013:

I think this child needs to be evaluated. I have read multiple case studies involving severely abused children, and sometimes it inhibits brain growth. While the child may be 12, he could have the emotional capacity of a 5 year old. He was rough with his brother, because that is how people treated him. He tried to help his brother through his mother, and she ignored it. How is he getting a harsher sentence than his pathetic mother. This truly breaks my heart, because this child needs intensive therapy. A life in jail will just hurt him even more. This poor soul was condemned the moment he was conceived. I hope her remaining children have been removed, and get the opportunity to have a better life.

Grace on December 27, 2012:

I believe that the mother is unexcusable. What type of mother, comes home, sees her child unconscious and just goes on the internet? What type of mother allows her children to be molested? What type of mother leaves her children with a drug addict grandmother? What type of mother, requires her children to do all the chores? What type of mother allows their son to babysit another son who had broken the leg of the other months beforehand? Because of these reasons, the mother should be locked up. But this boy. This poor boy who should be innocent, but is corrupted. He has to be fixed. He does not deserve this hatred, this horror. Can you imagine watching your father commit suicide. Being molested by the man you should look up to? Doing all the chores around the house. No one loving or appreciating you. We say that this boy should just rise above. Would we have?

Kathryn on November 19, 2012:

Sad but both mother and son should be in jail for the rest of their lives, neither could ever be trusted around a child and since both are capable of having children in the coming years. Keep them locked up. By the way anyone that could pick up and redress a bloody unconscious 2 year old and not get them medical care is an evil person.

Sally Branche from Only In Texas! on August 30, 2012:

I just love it when "no account" people like Parmalat come along to tell us all how we're doing everything wrong. How on earth would we know how to have a discussion about a HUB without someone like you who has no body of work to show and nothing but a vague criticism to offer to set us straight? Much obliged! ;D

Parmalat on August 30, 2012:

There's such a glaring lack of citations to support the many empirical assertions made on this page... if your claims are so well-founded, it shouldn't be hard to overwhelm us with a large body of supporting papers.

Blake on August 08, 2012:

In my opinion, you cannot always blame the parents or caretakers for the childrens decisions. You could be the best mother and father in the world and your child can and probably will do something to surprise you. Granted, given his background, it sure doesn't help anything but you cannot just blame mom or dad because he made the decision to abuse and kill his brother. I don't care who you are, you know the difference between right and wrong when you are at that age. Even if you've had a bad upbringing, you know what is good and what is bad. You know what you can do to be put in prison. You definitely know its not ok to kill someone.

It is up to that person to make their own decisions and be held accountable for those decisions regardless of upbringing. Even if he was tried as a juvenile, statistics show he wouldn't rehab and would more than likely become a very abusive Adult and would probably repeat his crime.

Im not trying to "troll" or anything. Its just my opinion that at a certain age, you know what is right and what is wrong. Even if i was abused for a very long time, id still know that killing someone would be wrong and would land me in jail. He should be tried as an adult as he made the decision to take a life.

selene on July 10, 2012:

Ask yourselves this... do you know all the things this kid ent through? There are 2 sides to every story the story they tell us and the story we don't know. I'm sure he knew what he was doing but I'm sure he had so much inside of him and this is what it came out to. I think his mom and family life had a lot to do with this heinous crime.

sammy on July 09, 2012:

all of this is digusting, young children killing their parents or younger siblings... revolting murders! why would you even do it!!!!!

concerned on June 28, 2012:

At what age should a child be allowed to babysit both a 2 year old and a 4 year old with out getting too overwhelmed? Who's responsibility is it to ensure that our children are being properly taken care of ? who's responsibility is it to seek medical attention for a child? would you leave your children with a 12 year old children who has been physically abused himself ?

Would you leave your children with a 12 year old child who has been sexually abused? Would you leave your children with a 12 year old child who witnessed his stepfather kill himself?

Would you leave your children with a 12 year old child who has been through all of these thing and NEVER given counseling?

As for his mother being raped at the age of 12 (Yes I said raped) by a 20 year old man, who only got probation, what did that tell her? that sexual abuse wasn't that big of a deal? There is such a long line of abuse and neglect in this . What change does society need to keep this cycle of abuse from happening? Locking up a 12 year old for life? NO that's not going to help. Parents need to be involved with their children , not with drugs and allowing abuse to happen to their children . Parents need to constantly watch their children teach them what is right and when they can't be there with their children they need to make sure that there is ADULT supervision. Children have never asked to be born! Once a person has a child they need to realize that child is their life ..Their old life has passed and its gone! Teach your children love your children or don't have children!

justmesuzanne from Texas on June 27, 2012:

Here is an interesting article that has bearing on this situation and many others.

No More Mandatory Life Terms for Kids

"Most states have never expressly authorized life without parole for juveniles. They've expressly authorized mandatory life without parole for adults, typically repeat offending adults -- the worst of the worst. They have simultaneously thrown more kids into the adult system by lowering the minimum age for trying children as adults. In some states it's as low as 8. So I don't think it's reasonable to say that legislatures have said, "Yes, we want mandatory life-without-parole sentences for 8-year-olds.

"It's the confluence of two distinct legislative judgments that has produced this reality. When states passed mandatory life-without-parole sentences, they weren't thinking about 12-year-olds; they were thinking about adult offenders, repeat offenders. " ~ Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative

To read the full article:

Sally Branche from Only In Texas! on June 09, 2012:

@ Ricardo: " No sane person murders his or her own two-year-old brother in cold blood."

He did not "murder his brother in cold blood". Read the article and the other comments. He handled his brother too roughly and injured him badly. He tried to get help from his mother, and she did not help.

Jolene on June 08, 2012:

I like to see him go to prison as a junevile, and get the help that he needs while he is being punished, he should get away with hurting his little brother, just because his step father did the same thing, and the mother should be responsible for his action also, she should have never left him a lone with him, after reading that he broke the baby's leg at one time, the kids should have been taken away at that point, if she couldn't control the boys tempter, and that the boy would still be alive today if they just took them away from her and her husand. Abuse is no excuse for murdering someone, he did feel bad about hurting his brother, maybe now he will get the help that he needs to adjust in the future, remember there is help for him, if he wants it, and if he goes to treatment he might be a good guy when he grows up, and have children of his own, he is only 12, serving in juvenile detention will help him grow, unless, he has problems dealing with other teenagers that are there for the same reasons or lessor charges, in all I hope he does remember what he did to his brother and that he won't do again to another child that is helpless like his brother was, it hurts to see mothers like her to be able to keep her children even though they are being abused,because I can't have children of my own, and I can't see why these women get to keep their children, it's not fair at all.

Horrorified on May 19, 2012:

Who would do this to a kid who as had the worst life expierince possible? He has had no love in his life ever. And I agree with Em. Imagine yourself as Cristian.

Em on May 13, 2012:

Are you kidding? He might get a worse sentence than the parents and uncle of poor baby Brianna Lopez!

Brianna was beaten, bitten, thrown to the ceiling and allowed to fall to the floor and sexually abused multiple times BY ADULTS before she died at 5 MONTHS old and they didn't even get a life sentence

The difference between sentencing adults and children who do these things is that children can be rehabilitated. He's still got some time before he becomes an adult. look up the "child of rage" videos on youtube. The story of Beth Thomas who was a young girl: completely rehabilitated after wanting to kill her adoptive parents and little brother

Ricardo on May 10, 2012:

I find it ridiculous that there is a controversy regarding his background. Sure, it was traumatic, and his actions are in fact attributable to his upbringing.

But that’s always the case, regardless of age. No sane person murders his or her own two-year-old brother in cold blood. If you look up the biography of any serial killer or sexual predator, their lives will most likely have been similar to this kid’s: messed up. That is why they´re “loony”. And yet nobody ever complains about the 55 year-old child molester’s parents neglecting him when he was a young boy.

The point of the legal system and, specifically, incarceration is to keep people safe. If this child was able to perpetrate this atrocity at twelve years old, one can only imagine what he will be wont to do as an adult.

justmesuzanne from Texas on April 16, 2012:

Here is a case in which a mother has been found guilty "of injury to a child by omission" for leaving her child with a violent adult who had harmed the child before. It seems Cristian Fernandez' mother should face similar charges.

justmesuzanne from Texas on April 05, 2012:

Here's an interesting video along those lines, Numbers:

"They're not old enough to drive, drink or vote but in America kids as young as 7-years-old can be tried as adults. Today, the United States remains the only developed country that sentences kids to life without parole. A practice seen as cruel and unusual by the international community. RT Correspondent Liz Wahl takes a look at how the Juvenile Justice System is failing America's youth."

Numbers on April 03, 2012:

You have to be 14 to get a job. You have to be 16 to get a license. You have to be 17 to avoid a curfew and see restricted movies. You have to be 18 to purchase tobacco, vote, or enlist in the armed forces. You have to be 21 to buy alcohol. You can be considered an adult at 12. Anyone else see a problem here?

Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on April 02, 2012:


Thanks for the information, that is very interesting. The similarities and differences in these cases are quite shocking to compare.

justmesuzanne from Texas on April 02, 2012:

Interesting how it is uncertain whether this apparently fairly well off, 13 year old white boy

who clearly committed his heinous crimes with malice-aforethought should or can be charged as an adult in the state of Iowa. Simultaneously, there seems to be little controversy among Florida officials as to whether the apparently impoverished 12 year old of mixed race should be tried as an adult for a situation rife with extenuating circumstances that was clearly not planned.

(I apologize for the long and unwieldy sentences!)

Angela Michelle Schultz from United States on March 26, 2012:

This is so sad. From the story you shared, i am not convinced he intended to kill his brother. In this case i think he should be tried asa juvenile. I do think the mother should be charged with the death though.

justmesuzanne from Texas on March 23, 2012:

Adults - even those who have come from abusive situations - are more capable of making considered decisions than children because of the mere fact of maturity, experience and years. Children are still malleable. The choice of what to do with this child for the rest of his life will have a huge impact on him and on society. It is still VERY possible to turn his life around and help him become a contributing member of society. Not so much his mom, but she is not facing LIFE in prison, and whatever sentence she faces as an accessory may also include some counseling and rehabilitation. Neither of them should face life in prison. This was not premeditated murder. It was series of very poor decisions on the mother's part and probable lack of impulse control along with lack of proper upbringing and environment for the child.

marl on March 23, 2012:

Then if we say that the child is a victim of the environment which he grew up in then is it now fair to conclude that the mother is to blame because she also seem to be a victim of the environment as well.I know she is a grown up but did she also receive care when she needed it,if not how then was she to be responsible if she was not taught to be responsible herself or we are saying that this whole nurture thing only affects children not adults........

Catzgendron on March 19, 2012:

This poor child's life was doomed from the start. He was born to a 12 child who wasn't in her right frame of mind from the start and a supposed adult according to his father's age. Neither of his parent's were responsible enough to take proper care of him and the system failed him. He should have been placed in foster care from the moment of birth and he would have had a better chance of living a normal life. Now, that's out of the question because no matter is decided he will have to live the remainder of his life knowing that his behavior contributed to the death of his 2 year old brother. Due to the fact that he missed out on the critical love and care he should received as an infant and toddler he will be trapped in the body and have an undeveloped brain. The system has failed this child for 12 yrs and allowing them to try him as an adult they will be continuing to his death.

Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on March 19, 2012:


Unfortunately, there are still many people who do know the entire story, yet they still believe he should be locked away. Heck, the prosecutor knows the entire story, and she's the one pushing for a capital murder charge as an adult.

Actually, it does mention that Cristian was believed to have been sexually abused by his stepfather.

The key, as you pointed out, is that he did not intentionally try to kill his brother. He was physically abusive with him, but there is absolutely nothing that shows he had any intent to kill his brother. What you said is spot on: he expressed concern about him to his mother, and it was her decision not to seek medical treatment, even though she is an adult and has the capability of understanding the seriousness of the situation and potential consequences. Cristian was too young to be completely capable understanding those things. People forget that at such a young age his brain hasn't fully developed yet, and because of that he should not be held responsible as an adult.

justmesuzanne from Texas on March 19, 2012:

The people who are saying that he should be locked away for life clearly haven't read the whole article. It doesn't say he was sexually abused. Nor does it say that he was intentionally trying to kill his brother. He pushed his brother roughly against a bookshelf 2X. That doesn't sound like premeditated murder. It's not right, but it's not premeditated murder. The article DOES say that he expressed concern for his brother and tried to get his mother to help, but she did not. Again, she is far more culpable than he. She is the grown-up who left her baby with a child who had already shown violent tendencies and then did nothing to help when violence resulted.

Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on March 19, 2012:


It is not a "proven fact that sexually abused children will grow up and be sex offenders themselves". The key word in that sentence that makes it incorrect is will. Can and do some abused children go on to abuse? Yes, but that is not all of them, and you are condemning a large group of children for something they did not have control over (being abused), and who have already gone through unspeakable horrors, and you writing each and every one of them off. Let me ask you a very serious question here:

How many abused children are you willing to throw away and lock up just because they could in the future potentially abuse other people?

The logic that you employ is that we should not even give these children a chance to grow up and be good, decent adults, because it's too dangerous. So, what do you supposed we do? Lock up every single abused child some place for life to keep them away from other people's children in the future? "Just in case" they happen to perpetuate what was done them?

At which point do you stop and realize how wrong that is? Probably if one of your own children were abused, right? Because if it was your own child, they have been through enough and would never ever do it someone else, so they wouldn't need to be locked up for life. Everyone elses' children are disposable to you though?

Rodrigo on March 19, 2012:

His past is horrible, but in this case we have to think about his possible future victims. He should be kept away from society for life, i don't believe for a second that this boy will be rehabilitated. As a previous poster says, wouls you want this guy to be living nextdoor to you and your future kids? Exactly, so let's be real about this. Keep him somewhere where he can't hurt people, not necessarily in jail. Just keep him locked up far away from my and your kids.

Naive on March 19, 2012:

It is a proven fact that sexually abused children will grow up to be sex offenders themselves. Would you like to live next door to Christian with your young family when he is 25 y/o? NO, so don't ask other people/children in society to deal with this poor soul. There is very little hope that he will become a harmless law obeding citizin, and never go in the wrong with kids, even his future OWN kids. The protesters should ask themselves this and not ask for other people that WILL be living near him to deal with this issue! And if they do feel so strong about it, let their own kids interact with him when he gets out at 21 y/ guessing it's a no....

OneYearLater on March 18, 2012:

I knew not to kill my siblings even before I reached my seventh birthday.

hatter on March 01, 2012:

What is Angela Corey trying to prove? District attorneys are always trying to do one of two things; either make a name for themselves or make an example out of someone. I use to work in the justice system and now I am in crime prevention. Their use to be a time to where I had seen so much crime to where I was thinking I hated mankind because of all of the wickedness in the world. I had to look at myself in the mirror thinking the only way I can help make a change in this world is trying to change that person in the mirror I see everyday. I feel that it is best that we all try to make a change within ourselves before that one of two things happens to us. Don't let some district attorney try to make an example of you or a name for themselves. Let us just pray that the D A will search deep down inside her heart and realize she is asking a 12 year old child to make a decision a grown person would have a difficult time making. Me myself, I feel if they lock that 12 year old child up in prison for the rest of his life, then they can lock me up also. Better yet, let me do the time for him. I've live my life. Let this child have a chance to begin his'. "Their's no justice in the U.S. It's just Us.

Catzgendron on February 28, 2012:

Thank You Suzanne. I never thought of that but it is possible. And I knew I saw something not quite right and you may have hit the nail on the head.

justmesuzanne from Texas on February 28, 2012:

Good observations. I am also wondering if he has fetal alcohol syndrome. His facial features suggest it. This condition often causes a lowering of inhibitions and a lack of impulse control.

Catzgendron on February 28, 2012:

This story has weighted on my mind since I read it last night. I can't get the image out of my mind of that poor little boy. I know that the prosecution feels that Christian should be tried as an adult. I hope they have sense enough to have a physiologic evaluation prior to making the final decision. I am positive they will find that he may be 12 year old in body but not in mind. From what I've learned over the years is that anyone who has been abused physically or sexually then to pull within themselves and their mind develops more slowly. It sounds like this young man life was doomed from the moment he was born. He is now the age his mother was when she gave birth to him. A child trying to raise a child. He didn't receive the nurturing that the normal newborn does, wasn't cared for the way a child should be in any sense of the word. I hope they hire a guardian at lighten to sure he is being properly represented. I will be praying for this child and hope he receives the help he needs.

Olive Ellis on February 28, 2012:

Really very sad. Yes, I agree that the mother should be blamed.

Catzgendron on February 27, 2012:

I believe that the mother's lack of interest in David attributed to his death just as much as the injury's he sustained from Christian. She is more responsible than Christian. Any person with an ounce of common sense would know that child needed medical attention. She choose to ignore her injured son instead of getting him the treatment he needed.

hatter on February 27, 2012:

It is a truly sad day when a 12 year old is having to make an adult decision of either accepting a plea deal with the courts, or spend the rest of his life behind bars. It truly shows this child has had an issue with being around his brother considering the fact this was not the first time the violence occurred. Having to watch his brother one more time while his mother was gone must have enrage him more. I say the mother is truly to blame for everything and the 12 year old son needs help. His mother has failed him as well as justice has failed him. Train your children in the way they should go and they shall not depart. I feel that asking this child to make a decision of a plea deal is a violation of humanity. He only did what he knew to do. The question is "who taught him"? I can tell you without having to point a finger at one person. WE DID. We taught him this by exposing him to the violent games, music video, ganster shows and rap music. The list goes on and on. I feel that the mother is truly guilty in her part for leaving the toddler with the twelve year old due to the history. But we are all guilty, especially our government because they give us the freedom to poison each others minds. That child doesn't need prison for the rest of his life, he needs help. AND SO DO WE !

justmesuzanne from Texas on February 26, 2012:

"... the basic facts are still the same: at some point while his mother was gone, 12-year-old Cristian became physically abusive with his 2-year-old brother, and shoved him very roughly into a bookshelf, twice. Later that day, upon his mother arriving home, Cristian, who was worried about his brother, took her to see David immediately, who was unconscious by that time."

He intended to be physically abusive. This does not seem to be premeditated, and it does not seem that his intention was to kill his brother. He was probably acting out treatment that he had experienced himself.

Again, the mother is far more culpable than the boy. She left the toddler in the care of someone who had already caused serious injury. When she was confronted with the results of her negligence, she did nothing to rectify the matter.

KJhusak on February 26, 2012:

Seriously??...too rough is an understatement! He already broke his brothers leg once, OBVIOUSLY he knows how rough is too rough with his little brother. He is 12, and his brother is TWO he knew what he was doing was going to hurt his little brother badly.

And THIS article doesn't say whether or not he did or didn't mean to kill his brother. But according to police, (in a diff article) the crime was premeditated, Fernandez intentionally killed his brother by violently shoving him into a bookshelf twice, causing a skull fracture and massive internal bleeding.

justmesuzanne from Texas on February 25, 2012:

Gatti & WBA - you two clearly didn't read the article. He wasn't trying to kill his brother, and it was not premeditated. He was too rough with his brother and injured him very badly. When his mother came home, he expressed concern and tried to get her to help, but she did not help. She is far more culpable than he is in this incident!

Certainly, a lengthy sentence in juvenile detention is in order. This should be coupled with rehabilitation - counseling and job training so that he can become a productive member of society.

Locking him up for life (possibly 80+ years!) would simply be a drain on society. from upstate, NY on February 25, 2012:

We are all victims of one kind of abuse or another. As far as I can see being 12 years old, he has reached the age of accountibility and should tried as an adult because of the nature of the crime he committed.

I am reminded of another case where some under aged kids meticulously planned the robbery and murder of an elderly women. They bound her to a chair with duct tape and gaged her so she couldn't call for help. Then they threw her off a bridge into a river bound and gagged.

Some liberal judge decided that the kids were struggling with their identity so they shouldn't be treated like adults in regards to the crime. With the victim was buried underground leaving heartbroken and angry family members, the youths responsible were bragging about their actions

while their victim is buried underground leaving behind heartbroken and angry family members. Is the meticulous planning of a robbery and then a murder to silence the victim the result of childish immaturity and identity issues? I think not!

These were not the actions of kids struggling with immaturity and their identity, its cold blooded murder, period.

Gatti on February 25, 2012:

This kid was old enough to know that killing is wrong. He killed his own brother. He should be locked up for life. We keep seeing these instances of kids going out and killing people in the news lately. Maybe something is wrong with our society.

justmesuzanne from Texas on February 24, 2012:

Exactly! That is the difference between an "excuse" and a "reason".

An "excuse" would engender this response: "Oh, well, it's terrible what he did but he couldn't help it because of what he's been through, so it's OK. Give the kid a break. Let him off."

A "reason" would engender this response: "What he did is terrible; however, it's easy to see the factors that contributed to his behavior and understand why he behaved as he did. While he must accept logical consequences for his behavior, he must also be treated and educated to help him understand those consequences."

Logical consequences for this boy's actions don't include life in prison. Because he is so young, there is a good chance he can be rehabilitated. It's easy to understand why he might have acted out abuse he had suffered himself; however, this was not a cold-blooded, premeditated murder, and he did express concern for his younger brother, and he did try to get his mother to help. There is a spark of compassion within him. He has some understanding of right and wrong. To put him in prison for life would be a burden on society and the waste of a life. To let him off without consequences or treatment would simply be wrong. Without help, he is sure to commit more violent acts.

Roberta McIlroy from Ontario, Canada on February 24, 2012:

i understand where you are coming from with your idea of the variable that makes all the difference. But, I didn't have a variable to turn to. I had no friends throughout my childhood that I could turn to. There was no compassionate, caring, consistent adult that was there for me. My important variable came to me when I was 17. She is my daughter. The other important variables came in my life later.

Take into consideration what he went through and get the help for him, but don't let him go unpunished at the same time. There are things in life that we need to be held accountable for, and taking someones life through an act of violence is one of them.

justmesuzanne from Texas on February 23, 2012:

@landscapeartist - There is one variable that can make all the difference in the world as to how a child processes abuse and expresses it. That variable is the presence of a truly compassionate, caring, consistent adult to whom the child can turn. I doubt Cristian or his mother ever had that.

@maxomam - it is not an excuse in that it doesn't make the actions of the person in question alright and acceptable. It is a reason in that it makes the actions understandable under the circumstances and can and should direct the responses of others to those actions.

Deforest from USA on February 23, 2012:

Past trauma is an excuse! I hardly believe those comments, ready to lynch this kid! I know someone who was sexually abused by his adoptive sister who was also abused by an adult. He was 5 years old when it occurred, she was 9. It lasted five years. Now in his late thirties, he is everything but an adult! Until two years ago nobody in his family knew!

When you say, he should know, which norms does he dispose of besides the ones given by his close environment?

Roberta McIlroy from Ontario, Canada on February 23, 2012:

I can understand where a lot of you are coming from and the point each of you is trying to make with regards to the question here.

However; speaking from experience, I suffered a rotten childhood, years of sexual assault and molestations, and fear of beatings and not once did I ever take it out on another living being.

At 12, you have the knowledge to understand right from wrong. Rebelling and acting out is one thing but murdering another person is totally different. I agree that he should not be tried as an adult, however; he has to learn from his actions and take responsibility for them. If we, baby him and only give him a slap on the wrist, what is that really teaching him? It teaches him that he got away with it once, he can do it again. Somewhere down the road it will happen again. Try him as a juvenile and send him to prison, but also treat him for the pain and suffering that he went through. Help him to deal with his demons, so that when he is finally released, he is better. But, don't stop there.

Trauma from what he went through never fully goes away. It stays with us and little things like a smell, taste, sound, or place can trigger that trauma to resurface. So, keep him in treatment throughout his life. Maybe not on a weekly basis but they can dwindle it on down to once a month visits just to keep updated.

Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on February 23, 2012:

For the record, I completely agree that it is not an excuse, but that it can be a reason. That being said, some people do actually believe it can be an excuse, which is one of the reasons why it is such a controversial topic.

The problem is that even if those reasons are presented at trial, they cannot be taken in consideration when it comes to his sentencing. His sentence cannot be mitigated, because he is being charged as an adult, which in Florida means an automatic life sentence without the possibility of parole if he is convicted. Unfortunately, by charging him as an adult, they are taking away the ability for him to be given a sentence that would include counseling or rehabilitation. He will either go to prison for the rest of his life, or he'll be set completely free with no guidance or help; neither of which is acceptable in my opinion.

justmesuzanne from Texas on February 23, 2012:

In reference to:

"The question of whether a person's past trauma can be used to excuse or explain their criminal behaviour has always raised a lot of controversy. "

No, past trauma is not an "excuse" for criminal behavior, but it can be a "reason". There is a big difference between the two. An excuse is a reason that not only explains a situation, it makes it alright. A reason, simply explains a situation.

There are certainly ample reasons why no child should ever have been left in Cristian's care and why Cristian would act out the abuse he had suffered himself. One would hope that those reasons will be presented at the trial and that his sentence will be mitigated by them to include counseling and guidance that might help him be successfully paroled when he becomes an adult.

beagrsv on February 23, 2012:

I am in complete agreement with you...where were his protectors?

And the mother? Don't get me started as she is as much to blame for the death of a precious child who never hurt anyone due to her sheer neglect when the her son first alerted to her that there was a problem.

A true sociopath feels no remorse so that does not apply to the boy in this case.

Abuse CAN drive a child to do harbor anger and rage and I know this first hand. I was a child just the boy mentioned above and I harmed others as well growing up and as an adult and I have a heart. A big one.

I hoppe you keep us posted!

Antonia Monacelli (author) from Ontario, Canada on February 21, 2012:


It is actually extremely rare for an abusive child to have come from a great family home. Abuse tends to be a learned behaviour, that the child has been exposed to or seen at some point, which they then emulate. Without some type of exposure to trauma or abuse of some kind, it's very rare for a child to become abusive themselves.

That's not to say that some violent and abusive children do not have great family homes, so to speak, but in those cases, you'll often find that they have been exposed to abuse outside of the home in some way, or that they suffer from some underlying mental illness or another medical or psychological disorder.

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