Teen found guilty in beating death of girl, 16, in bathroom fight
One of three teens accused in the case of a Delaware girl who died following a high school bathroom brawl was found delinquent of criminally negligent homicide Thursday.
A judge reached the verdict in the bench trial over the April 2016 death of 16-year-old Amy Joyner-Francis.
The sophomore at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington died from "a cardiac incident that she was vulnerable to because of a pre-existing heart condition, but the cardiac incident would not have occurred had she not been assaulted," the state Department of Justice said.
Only one of the three1 7-year-olds was accused of criminally negligent homicide. The other two girls stood accused as juveniles of conspiracy charges.
The judge found a second girl delinquent of third-degree criminal conspiracy. A third teen was found not delinquent of criminal conspiracy.
All three were charged as juveniles.
According to reports, the victim went into one of the high school bathroomsto "settle" an issue with another group of girls when the confrontation became violent and Joyner-Francis reportedly banged her head on a sink.
The tenth grader was airlifted in critical condition to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, officials said.
Defense attorneys argued that Joyner-Francis was a willing participant in the fight. Prosecutors said she wasn't looking to fight and was unexpectedly attacked while trying to peacefully settle a misunderstanding.
The fight was filmed and allegedly shows one girl repeatedly punching Joyner-Francis in the head and torso, according to court documents.
An autopsy later revealed Joyner-Francis had a hole in the atrium of her heart and abnormally narrow arteries in her lungs.
While the medical examiner concluded the victim would "probably" still be alive had she not been attacked. However, a defense witness testified that was not possible to conclude.
The judge said whether Joyner-Francis would still be alive today wasn't relevant to the case.
The two girls will be sentenced on May 23.