Trinity Carr, a 17-year-old at Howard High School of Technology, was sentenced to six months at the secure residential program Grace Cottage near Wilmington on Monday, despite repeated calls from prosecutors and the victim’s mother to sentence the girl to prison, The News Journal reports.
Carr was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and third-degree conspiracy in Wilmington Family Court in April following the deadly attack on sophomore Amy Inita Joyner-Francis in a school bathroom last year.
Dozens of girls allegedly watched the fight unfold and recorded the brawl. Joyner-Francis, 16, suffered from an undiagnosed heart condition that was aggravated during the brawl and contributed to her death.
Another teen, 17-year-old Zion Snow was sentenced to 18 months of community supervision Monday for her role in orchestrating the attack, according to the news site.
A third defendant was acquitted of conspiracy, the Associated Press reports.
Prosecutors argued Joyner-Francis’ death was the result of an attack, not a fight. Defense attorneys argued that the death was unforeseeable.
Family Court Judge Robert Coonin sided with prosecutors.
“This is an extraordinarily difficult case, and it has been from the beginning,” Coonin said Monday, according to the AP. “Everyone has lost.”
“The community has lost, the defendants and their families have lost, and most importantly, Amy’s family has lost,” the judge continued, also condemning social media for detaching Carr from an “appropriate sense of humanity.”
Delaware does not operate a prison for juvenile girls, and Coonin did not want to send Carr to an out-of-state-prison, an option pushed by the prosecution. Instead, he ordered her to serve her sentence in the restricted-access Grace Cottage.
Coonin also sentenced Carr to “non-residential after-care treatment” until age 19, as well as two years of adult probation. She must also complete 500 hours of community service working with bullied students and pay restitution to the victim’s family.
Coonin also banned both Carr and Snow from social media until they’ve served their sentences – a move he said is aimed at teaching the girls an “appropriate appreciation” for others.
“I hope, with this sentence, that you can gain the tools to understand and perhaps help others so this horrible event does not get repeated,” the judge said, according to the News Journal.
Sherry Dorsey Walker, former Wilmington councilwoman acting as the Joyner-Francis family spokeswoman, told the news site probation wasn’t exactly the type of justice the family was hoping for.
“I don’t think there will ever be anything such as closure as it pertains to this situation because Amy will never come home,” Walker said. “So while one of the assailants gets to be at Grace Cottage and her parents can come visit her on a regular basis that is not something Amy’s family can do.”