Original article no longer available
Dallas Morning News
By RACHEL HORTON / The Dallas Morning News
DENTON – A 15-year-old Lewisville girl could face up to 25 years in custody for killing her 6-year-old brother under the terms of a plea agreement reached Wednesday, two people close to the case said.
The girl pleaded guilty to the April 15 slaying of Jackson Carr during a hearing closed to the public and the media. She was turned over to the Texas Youth Commission, where she will begin her sentence. She later could be sent to an adult penitentiary.
The girl’s court-appointed attorney, Kimberly McCary, declined to comment but has said that up to 25 years in custody seemed reasonable in the case. Her client could have faced a 40-year sentence if convicted in a jury trial.
The teen, whose name is being withheld because she is a juvenile, admitted stabbing Jackson in the neck and burying him in a shallow grave behind their house. Her 10-year-old brother, who faces juvenile murder charges, admitted holding the boy down, police have said.
“I believe the case ended the way that we foresaw it would end,” said Lee Ann Breading, Denton County first assistant district attorney.
The teen’s parents, Michael and Rita Carr, left the courtroom quietly after the hearing. They declined to comment.
District Judge Lee Gabriel asked those involved in the case to continue honoring a gag order, officials said.
Dan Kossmann, the 10-year-old boy’s attorney, said he is discussing a possible plea bargain for the boy, who remains in custody at the Denton County Juvenile Detention Center.
Those close to the case said the girl’s written statement, taken the night of the killing, detailed how she planned the crime, dug the grave and then asked Jackson to play hide-and-seek.
At the time of the slaying, the siblings’ mother was at work and their father had left the children home alone to mail his taxes, family members said.
The siblings’ uncle, John Schwartz of Richardson, said he was disappointed with Wednesday’s outcome.
He said he hoped the girl would get medical treatment instead of jail time. Mr. Schwartz and his wife, Barbra, had offered to have the girl released into their custody.
“I’m sad that they elected to go this route,” Mr. Schwartz said. “The whole thing is just gut-wrenching.”
Mr. Schwartz said he thinks his niece, who has a history of criminal behavior including setting fires, may have been suffering an adverse reaction to being taken off the prescription anti-depressant Paxil at the time of the killing. “I’m not saying the pill made her do it,” he said, but he added that he thought discontinuation of the drug could have intensified her emotional problems.
Withdrawal from the drug can cause agitation and nightmares, according to the drug’s maker.
“I’ve never seen this child … lay a hand on her brother ? no spitting, no hitting, no nothing. It would have been different if she had ever said, ‘I want to kill you.’ But she never said that.”
Last month, the uncle hired a McKinney attorney who specializes in Paxil defense in an effort to affect the outcome of the case, he said. But the girl’s attorney declined the help, Mr. Schwartz said.