An arraignment hearing will be continued next Tuesday for a 12-year-old girl who Polk County officials say bullied another girl so badly the victim committed suicide.
The 12-year-old along with a 14-year-old girl are facing aggravated stalking charges in the death of Rebecca Sedwick.
The state told the judge they just received what they’re calling some “voluminous” new information from law enforcement that they need to review before they can accept a plea.
The 12-year-old will remain out on home detention. She’s only allowed to leave her house for church, she’s been suspended from school and she’s only allowed to use a computer under supervision.
Attorney Jose Baez is representing the 12-year-old. Speaking at a news conference Friday morning, Baez described his client as a “remarkable” and “extremely vulnerable” child who did not commit a criminal act and is a victim of intense media scrutiny.
“Law Enforcement and their public relations machine has not pulled any punches as it relates to the conduct of these two girls," he said. "So maybe I’m missing something. I think I’m fairly thorough and I can tell you that I have not seen anything that rises to the level of any criminal conduct, especially not a felony.”
Earlier this week, a YouTube video surfaced of the 12-year-old bully suspect. In the video the girl is scene flipping through a notebook filled with some of her writings. Some of the derogatory comments she wrote include “I think I am fat”, and “I hate myself.”
“We’ve already lost one child,” Baez said. “I don’t want another tragedy."
Baez said he admired Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd for bringing attention to bullying.
“But not at the expense of a child,” he said.
Judd released screen shots of a chat between the two young suspects and their friends. It’s a conversation he said they had after Sedwick’s death. A line from one of those chats reads, “She was the only one I bullied and I can’t say sorry.”
Another is more disturbing, “It was best for everyone that she went to ****. No one will ever know the truth.”
But Judd said if it’s up to him, people will know the truth.
“Defense attorneys deny everything. Admit nothing and try raising counter charges. Isn’t it just like someone to try to blame someone else? Clearly and unequivocally we have all the evidence in the world. We have all the witnesses in the world,” said Judd.
Judd said they still have thousands of documents to comb through in this case. But he fully expects for it to be resolved in juvenile court with these young suspects and hopefully bring some justice to the family of Rebecca Sedwick.
“None of us have ever said let’s lock her up and throw away the key. We recognize she’s 12. We recognize she committed a terrible felony but we also recognize the importance of the criminal justice system,” Judd said.
He called the Sheriff out for showing pictures of the two young suspects.
His message to Baez: "Get over trying to show she didn't do something she did and start trying to help that child so that she's a productive citizen, not live her life thinking she can be in denial."
Baez also stressed he wants to distance his client from the other 14-year-old suspect, who was not in court Friday. Her attorney says she’s already entered a written not guilty plea.
Sedwick's mother was joined in a news conference Thursday by former Governor Charlie Crist whose firm is representing her.
The sheriff also added that he believes the high profile attorneys like Charlie Crist, now involved in this case are doing it for political reasons. The trial for those young suspects is scheduled for November 4.
Baez represented Casey Anthony in 2011. Anthony was found not guilty on first-degree murder charges in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.