Accused boater released - Soundings Online

Accused boater released

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JUNE 23 -- A Florida teenager charged in connection with the death of a young snorkeler was released recently from a juvenile detention center and placed into the care of his parents.

Under an agreement with prosecutors the 13-year-old is to stay with his parents, but is not permitted to operate a motor vessel, the Associated Press reported. Although he won’t have to wear a monitoring device the teen will not be allowed to leave his parents’ home, except for medical care or for counseling.

The teen spent nearly three weeks in the detention center after prosecutors said he was a “flight risk,” news reports say. He is accused of driving an 18-foot skiff over a 6-year-old boy on Memorial Day off Key West, Fla., then fleeing the scene. The boy had been snorkeling with his father and a sibling when the incident happened.

The teen had been scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, news reports say, but the hearing was postponed until July 24 to give the State Attorney’s office more time to investigate. He is charged with vessel homicide that, according to reports, is a first-degree felony punishable for adults by serving 30 years in prison and paying up to $10,000 in fines. Since he is younger than 14, the teen could instead receive probation, deferred prosecution or commitment to a residential juvenile program.

— Jason Fell