Child advocates target prosecution of

Child advocates target prosecution of juveniles as adults

By Bill Kaczor

The Associated Press

Posted September 26 2002

PENSACOLA á Opponents of prosecuting children as adults have formed a national advocacy group in response to the trial of two Florida Panhandle boys convicted of killing their father.

Under Our Wings was formed during a conference call Tuesday night among 19 participants from California to New York.

“When we start prosecuting our children as adults, people know that something is wrong with that,” said the Rev. Thomas Masters, the group president. “Now the problem is, how do you fix it? That’s what we want to present.”

Masters, pastor of the New Macedonia Baptist Church in Rivera Beach, became an advocate on the issue when a member of his congregation, 13-year-old Nathaniel Brazill, was prosecuted as an adult for fatally shooting a Lake Worth teacher in 2000. Brazill was sentenced when he was 14 to 28 years in prison for second-degree murder.

The catalyst for the new organization, however, was the Pensacola trial three weeks ago of Alex and Derek King. They were 12 and 13 when their father, Terry King, 40, was beaten to death with an aluminum baseball bat on Nov. 26. Firefighters found the body inside the family’ burning home in nearby Cantonment.

Many Under Our Wings members have been circulating a petition urging that the brothers, convicted of arson and second-degree murder without a weapon, be sentenced “as the children that they are rather than as the adults that they are not.”

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