Family Court Judge Robert Coonin made his ruling in the nonjury trial of three teens and classmates charged in the April 2016 death of Amy Joyner-Francis, 16, during the bathroom attack at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington, Delaware. Two of the girls were age 16; the older one who was 17 was convicted on Thursday, April 13, 2017 of criminally negligent homicide and found guilty of misdemeanor conspiracy.
Joyner-Francis, who had a rare heart condition undetected by her doctors, died of sudden cardiac death, aggravated by physical and emotional stress.
The 16-year-old who posted on social media, “we gonna get her…. she’s scared” and kicked Joyner-Francis while she was on the floor struggling to defend herself, also was convicted of conspiracy.
State Prosecutor Sean Lugg deemed this fatal encounter an “attack,” not a fight as many referenced it in media and social media.
The third 16-year-old who was seen on a cellphone video pulling the 17-year-old girl convicted of homicide off Joyner-Francis was acquitted of conspiracy, Coonin saying there was no evidence she threatened Joyner-Francis.
“While it may be true that Amy Joyner-Francis, due to her condition would have died from a multitude of stressors, until such an event occurred, if at all, she had a right to live one more day, one more week, one more month or year, until her time, without a contributing cause of another,” Coonin said.
Coonin said the girl convicted of homicide “struck the first blow without warning, and carried on the relatively brief but violent attack.”
Sentencing for the teens who were tried as juveniles and declared delinquent is set for May 23.
If the 17-year-old had been convicted as an adult, she would have faced up to eight years in prison. As a juvenile, she could be subject to supervision, and possible incarceration until age 19. Coonin told her she is prohibited from possessing a deadly weapon until age 25.