The 12-year-old Florida boy charged with fatally beating his 17-month-old cousin will spend at least two more months in the secure juvenile detention center where he’s been held since he was arrested January 4, a Broward County judge ruled today. The boy pleaded not guilty of second-degree-murder on February 18 and, to date, has not responded to a plea deal arranged between his lawyers and the prosecutors in the case. The Sun Sentinel reports that “his attorneys are advising him to accept the plea agreement that would send him to a maximum security detention center where the average stay is around 18 to 20 months, followed by probation.” (If tried and convicted as an adult, he would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison with no parole.)
Psychologists working with the boy have determined that he does not understand the terms of the plea agreement. At this morning’s hearing Judge Charlie Kaplan ordered a re-evaluation in 60 days and ordered the boy to remain in detention in the interim.