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CA Boy, 10, Charged with Murder of His Friend, 12

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on January 20, 2012 6:06 AM

A 10-year-old has been charged with murder and felony assault. The San Diego child is accused of killing 12-year-old Ryan Carter Monday afternoon.

Carter died about an hour after the fatal stabbing. His family was told that the 12-year-old boy was trying to break up a fight, according to NBC San Diego.

The victim and the defendant were supposedly close friends. A neighbor said he didn't think the killing was intentional.

A friend of both boys said the 10-year-old didn't pick fights. But he did have a temper when provoked, reports the AP.

The defendant appeared in juvenile court on Thursday. He pled "not true" to the charges levied against him.

The juvenile justice system is different than adult court. Juveniles are usually "detained" not "arrested." Documents and records from juvenile cases are also sealed. The procedures and process for juvenile cases may vary depending on the jurisdiction.

Deputy District Attorney, Juvenile Division Victor Barr described the case to NBC San Diego. Barr says the juvenile system is rehabilitative, not punitive. He also says that the child's maximum sentence on all the charges would be custody until the age of 25. After that age the juvenile system will lose jurisdiction over him.

Barr described the situation as tragic for all the parties involved.

Child killings aren't even that rare. In 2010, the AP reports that 11 homicides were committed by children 12 and under. There is often no definitive way to predict such acts of violence, Northeastern University professor James Alan Fox says. The 10-year-old charged with murder was represented by a public defender.

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