13-Year-Old Who Fatally Stabbed His Mother Pleads ‘Not Guilty,’ Family Asks for ‘Second Chance’
Derek Rosa, a 13-year-old teen who stabbed his mother, Irina Garcia, 39, to death has pled not guilty and is awaiting trial.
According to NBC News South Florida, Rosa is detained in a solitary cell at the MetroWest Detention Center in Miami, Florida. He was denied bail after a grand jury charged him with first-degree murder.
His private attorney, Kristen Reynoso filed a motion on October 31 to move him to the Miami-Dade Juvenile Detention Center.
Due to the nature of the case, Rosa is being tried in the adult felony court system. While he did not appear in court on Tuesday, his grandmothers and father, Jose Rosa, advocated on his behalf, asking for a “second chance.”
At the time of the crime, Rosa was living with his mother, two-week-old half-sister, and step-father at their apartment in Hialeah, Florida.
On October 12, the teen called 911 after fatally stabbing his mother while she slept next to his newborn half-sister
Weeks after Rosa was detained, police released the 911 tape of the teen calling to report his mother’s death. In the tape, the teen described the bloody scene.
“She’s dead, miss,” he said. “There’s blood all over the floor.” He then proceeds to tell the operator there was a gun in the living room and a knife in his room. Rosa is heard saying he was going to “shoot himself” with his stepdad’s guns, but he “didn’t want to.”
During the call, Rosa is heard saying “someone is calling my mom.” He later says “my stepdad is calling me. Do I answer?”
The operator told him to ignore the calls and remain in the living room. He also tells the operator he didn’t want to “touch” his weeks-old sister.
He continued telling the operator he had taken pictures of his mother’s body and sent them to his friends. Adding, “I’m really sad, I’m really really sad….I’m okay but my mom is not okay, she’s dead.”
After hearing Hialeah Police at the door, the teen asks “Are they going to kill me?” and “My stepdad is a truck driver, what is he going to do when he comes back home?”
Police reports state a motive has not been found. Garcia was found with stab wounds to the neck.
“This is heartbreaking, I never would have imagined something like this, a 13-year-old child taking his mother’s life,” Eddie Rodriguez, Hialeah Police spokesman, told NBC 6. “It’s a very sad story.”
Continuing, “We don’t know, that’s something that we’re still trying to figure out. He did not say why he did this, all he did was call 911 and advise what he did.”
Family members say Rosa is a “sweetheart,” plead for a second chance
As reported by Inside Edition, Rosa was an honor student at iMater Charter Academy in Hialeah, described by his neighbors as a “good kid.” Over the last month, over 20 letters were sent to the Miami-Dade County court, with Rosa’s father and grandmothers asking for a “second chance.”
“It’s hard for us to explain how this occurred,” Jose Rosa said in court. “It’s difficult, but I guess what we are asking for is another opportunity, a second chance to help him grow, put this behind him and say we have your back, we are here to support you.”
Outside the courtroom, a family member describes Rosa as “Caring, loving, this is not like Derek, no one knows him like we do. He is a child that still plays.”
Meanwhile, his maternal grandmother, who has agreed to move in with him after asking he is released under house arrest, said he is “the best boy in the world.” The infant is also under her care at the moment.
Jose Rosa also shared he taught the teen “good values” after being in the military for 22 years.
Rosa could face life in prison for his mother’s murder
Police reports show Rosa stabbed his mother while her newborn baby slept in the crib next to her. At the time, Rosa’s stepfather was out of state and on his way home.
Although the 13-year-old initially faced second-degree murder charges, the grand jury changed this to a first-degree murder charge, which means he will be charged in the adult court system.
During his arraignment hearing on Tuesday morning, Judge Richard Hersch said he needs “a better understanding of this young man, this case” before moving forward, as per The Miami Herald.
Rosa is not currently facing the death penalty despite first-degree murder being a capital crime in Florida, but it has been ruled unconstitutional in the case of juveniles.
Notice any corrections needed? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org