Three teenagers are facing charges in the death of 16-year-old Amy Inita Joyner Francis, who died in the bathroom at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington, Delaware.
"At the end of the day, nothing brings Amy back," Sherry Dorsey Walker, Wilmington City Council member, told WPVI on behalf of the victim’s family. "Whatever the charges are, their issue is, Amy is never coming home."
The Delaware Attorney General’s Office is aiming to have one suspect,16-year-old Trinity Carr, tried as an adult. In a video of the fight, Trinity was seen punching the victim in the head and chest, as reported by The News Journal. She is charged with criminally negligent homicide, and faces up to eight years in prison.
The other suspects, Zion Snow and Chakeira Wright, did not hit Amy and do not have criminal histories. Therefore, they will be charged with third-degree criminal conspiracy as juveniles, which carries a punishment of up to a year behind bars.
"Now their lives are completely destroyed, and for what?" said Walker. "A bathroom fight. Is it worth it?"
According to the state’s Medical Examiner, Amy’s death resulted from a pre-existing health condition, which played a significant role in determining the criminal charges.
According to the Attorney General's office, the state's Medical Examiner's Office played a large role in determining the charges. Amy's autopsy determined Amy died from "sudden cardiac death due to large atrial septal defect with a contributing factor of physical and emotional stress due to physical assault," The News Journal reports.
Various activists and legal experts say the charges are fair.
Judith Ritter, a professor at Delaware Law School, said the teenagers were probably not charged with an intentional killing because most people do not believe a fist fight will kill someone.
"What it comes down to is what would a reasonable person have recognized about the risk of death here," she explained.
"I used to jump the gun and say sentence them," said Mahkeib Booker, the founder of the local Black Lives Matter chapter. "But I have to really look at their background and check their upbringing, who created the type of environment that would make them want to bully and beat people."
"It’s not only their fault, we have failed," said Ty Johnson, former president of Wilmington's Interdenominational Ministers Action Council. "Any time girls get into a bathroom and they begin to act out the way they did we have failed as a society. And we can and must do better."