Legal expert weighs in on 13-year-old charged with murder in Danville

The teen is being charged with the death of their 4-year-old sibling, police say

DANVILLE, Va. – A 13-year-old, who has not been identified, is facing a first-degree murder charge in connection with the death of their 4-year-old sibling, according to the Danville Police Department.

The Danville Police Department said the felony charge was brought against the teen after they confessed to suffocating the victim.

The trial is pending, but 10 News spoke with Julie McConnell, a law professor at the University of Richmond to see what kind of sentence the teen could face.

McConnell said that because the child is only 13, they could not be charged as an adult.

[READ MORE: 13-year-old charged with first-degree murder in connection with death of 4-year-old sibling in Danville]

“He could be sent to the department of juvenile justice, which is a juvenile prison. And he could be held there until he is 21. So if he is 13 now, that would be an eight-year sentence. That’s not an insignificant amount of time,” she said.

Danville PD hasn’t shared if the suspect is male or female.

Mcconnell added that the child could not be sent to an adult prison because they are so young and their brain is not fully developed.

About the Authors:

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.

Alyssa Rae grew up in Roanoke and graduated from Virginia Tech. An avid sports fan, she spent her first 8 years in TV as a sports anchor and reporter.