Plea Deal Offered in Shaloh Joseph Case

At a hearing in Broward County yesterday prosecutors in the Shaloh Joseph case presented a plea deal that would allow the 12-year-old boy accused of killing his 17-month-old cousin to be tried as a juvenile if he agrees to plead guilty to second-degree murder. The boy would face up to three years in a juvenile facility, followed by probation, according to prosecutor Maria Schneider. If the boy is tried as an adult, he faces the prospect of life in prison.

One of the boy’s public defenders, Sandra Perlman, said, “We’ll consider this offer like we would in any case. But usually an offer like this comes after both sides have had a chance to investigate all possibilities and all suspects.”

Both sides also agreed yesterday to extend the deadline on the decision of trying the boy as a juvenile or as an adult until February 18. They continue to disagree, however, on the cause of Joseph’s death. As the Sun Sentinel reports, “Broward Medical Examiner Dr. Joshua Perper found at least one of Shaloh’s injuries could not have been caused by a baseball bat, which investigators say was the murder weapon. Instead, the child may have been knocked against a wall, the doctor suggested.”

There is further confusion in this case concerning the role of Amonise Zileme, a woman who rents a room in the Joseph house and who was home baby-sitting the children the day Joseph was killed. More from the Sun Sentinel:

When the 12-year-old was first questioned, he said the baby was in distress when she was returned to him after she spent an hour in the baby-sitter’s room, the warrant said.

That search warrant allowed police to search the home for up to three days. The prosecution’s request to re-examine the house set off a battle between the prosecution, defense and an attorney for Shaloh’s parents, Ocnel Joseph and Merlande Alexis.

The Miami Herald reports that Zileme and the other tenants living in the home (how many there are is unclear) were subpoenaed by Broward Circuit Court Judge Charlie Kaplan to appear for a hearing Monday morning, where they will be asked for permission to search their rooms.

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