Georgia teen facing adult felony charges stemming from party

Scapegoating is part of human nature. In our desire to make sense of the often chaotic world around us, we tend to look for causal factors wherever we can find them, and are quite willing to connect dots that may have a tenuous relationship to each other while pursuing that goal. Police and prosecutors in Georgia are human beings, and sometimes they come up with connections that may or may not be warranted.

For example, the tragic death of a teenager at a local house party several months ago led to the arrest of one of the partygoers in late January. According to police, this 16-year-old boy was at the party when an argument ensued over a cell phone. Authorities claim that the boy began firing a gun inside the house, which was reportedly packed with up to 100 people.

It is also reported, however, that a 19-year-old who was 'working security' at the party also discharged a firearm, and that several others began shooting as well. In the aftermath of all this firing, it was discovered that a 17-year-old had been struck in the head by a bullet and died at the scene.

Authorities in this case have charged the 16-year-old with aggravated assault and felony murder, and it is reported that he will be tried as an adult. However, from the above facts, it is not at all clear exactly what happened that night at the party. With the number of firearms present and crowded premises, there may be dots that are being connected prematurely. A felony murder conviction can permanently alter a person's life, and U.S. law requires that the state prove a suspect's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Those accused of such serious charges should consider doing whatever they can to protect their constitutional rights, perhaps by contacting an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney.

Source: gwinnettdailypost.com, "Police arrest teen accused of starting fatal gunfight at house party," Cailin O'Brien, Jan. 27, 2017

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