This week, Department of Justice prosecutors and a detective from the Wilmington, Delaware Police Department met with Amy Joyner-Francis’s mother and older brother to share with them the charges being brought against three students from Howard High School of Technology. The three were found to be connected to the event that led to the death of Miss Francis on April 21, 2016.
The release on the official Delaware government website says the teenagers connected to her death are minors, but they will be held accountable for their actions.
Amy’s cause of death, according to the Medical Examiner’s office, was “sudden cardiac death due to large atrial septal defect with a contributing factor of physical and emotional stress due to being physically assaulted.”
In short, Amy died because of a cardiac event resulting from a preexisting heart condition that would not have materialized if she had not been attacked.
Another fact that will be crucial to making a charging determination is that evidence points to three girls who were planning a showdown with Amy on April 12. But only one of the three, Trinity Carr, hit Amy. This fact means that the two other girls will not be charged with beating her.
On May 9, 2016, Trinity Carr (16) was charged with Criminally Negligent Homicide, which is punishable by up to eight years of incarceration. The DOJ is asking the Family Court to try Carr as an adult in Superior Court.
Zion Snow and Chakeira Wright, the two other girls, were charged with third-degree criminal conspiracy, punishable by up to one year in prison. Because the Snow and Wright have no prior juvenile convictions and did not assault Amy, they will be tried as juveniles.
Carr was released on $13,000 unsecured bail to her parents, say David Chang and Morgan Zalot of WCAU-TV. Carr was told not to have social media contact or physical contact with her co-conspirators. The court has scheduled a case-review on May 31.
After the fight, Joyner-Francis suffered head and chest pain and was unconscious when medics arrived. She died later at a nearby children’s hospital.
Before charges were made against the three girls, they were suspended for the violent incident. Parents were concerned about the safety of their children. On two nights, the school held meetings to assuage parent’s fears.
After the announcement of the charges on Monday, Councilwoman Sherry Dorsey- Walker said:
“At the end of the day, there is still a life that’s lost,” she said. “That life belongs to that family. So right now they’re heartbroken.”
She also asked residents of Wilmington to begin discussing methods for ending bullying in their city.
A video of the assault, which took place in the girl’s bathroom, shows Carr punching Joyner-Francis in the chest and head. It also shows Carr leaving, and Amy attempting to get up from the floor. But Amy seemed disoriented and fell back onto the bathroom floor, write Brittany Horn and Esteban Parra for The News Journal.
Although police could not prove that any online photos and videos were directly connected to the attack, they are reviewing social media as a part of their continuing investigation.
UK’s Daily Mail and Reuters report that Joyner-Francis’ father said he thought schools were a safe place for his child.
A fellow-student, Nik Stryminski, noted that Amy kept him from participating in a fight earlier in the year. He added that at another time when he was about to fight, Amy pulled him away from the incident and calmed him down.