TACOMA (AP) — A 14-year-old boy accused of attacking a 7-year-old girl outside their Puyallup apartment community was charged Tuesday with kidnapping, rape and attempted murder, and the prosecutor said the teen should be tried as an adult.
"Rarely do we ask the court to treat a 14-year-old offender as an adult, but this is one of those few cases where the severity of the offense and the safety of our community call out for adult-sized accountability," said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
If convicted as a juvenile, the teen would spend less than seven years behind bars. If convicted in Superior Court, he could be sentenced to 30 years or more.
It is now up to a judge to decide if the boy will be prosecuted as an adult. A hearing on that motion has been scheduled for July 30, Lindquist said.
The girl was playing outside the Glenbrooke apartments July 10 when she was lured away to look at a bird's nest, prosecutors said. She was beaten, choked to the point of unconsciousness, sexually assaulted and left for dead, but was able to identify her neighbor as the attacker.
She has been removed from intensive care at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma and is listed in satisfactory condition, spokeswoman Marce Edwards said Tuesday.
Family and neighbors searched for the girl before calling police, who combed the complex and brought in a search dog. The hound picked up a scent from a tennis shoe and led searchers into a nearby wooded area where they found the girl unable to walk and barely able to speak.
"She was lying on her right side, and was obviously cold and shivering. There was mostly dried blood on her face and mouth, her hair was disheveled, and there was dirt all over her and her clothing," the prosecutor's office said. She was partially undressed.
Police searched the boy's apartment and found clothing with blood and dirt.
He repeatedly denied any involvement with the girl, then said he took her down a trail to look at a bird's nest. He said he physically assaulted her, but denied sexually assaulting her.
"When he saw her injuries, he knew he was going to get into trouble, and knew he 'had to get rid of her so she couldn't tell anyone,'" the prosecutor's office said.
He told officers that he grabbed and dragged her farther into the wooded area so people would not hear her. He squeezed her throat until she passed out. When she stopped kicking and gasping for air, he left.
The girl underwent surgery to repair damage to her throat. A physician found clear signs of sexual assault, the prosecutor's office said.
The boy was arrested last year and charged with two counts of third-degree assault and one count of fourth-degree assault. He went out of control after a family wedding, tried to hang himself, choked his younger brother, and kicked and hit two sheriff's deputies sent to investigate, court records said.
He faced detention until he turned 21 but got a deferred disposition in March after he agreed to six months' probation, counseling and 20 hours of community service.