The lawyer for a 12-year-old Florida girl accused of helping to bully classmate Rebecca Sedwick into suicide told a court today that he was not going to allow his client to now be bullied by the judicial system.
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"This girl deserves more than having her face plastered across the country and being blamed, directly blamed for the death of one of her friends…I'm not going to let her be bullied," said Jose Baez whose client is 12 and is facing aggravated felony stalking charges in Sedwick's death.
"This is a tragic, tragic story…and when you're dealing with an emotionally vulnerable 12-year-old girl these things need to be handled with kid gloves. ….She feels absolutely horrible for what happened to Rebecca," said Baez.
The girl's identity is being withheld by ABC News.
Baez, who previously represented Casey Anthony in her trial for the death of her daughter, urged the public not to lump his client in with Guadalupe Shaw, the 14-year-old girl who faces similar felony charges in Sedwick's death. Shaw, whose mother has gone public with her daughter's identity, did not appear at today's hearing.
Both girls were arrested last week after the Polk County Sheriff's office said they "terrorized" Sedwick, 12, taunted her relentlessly online and at school, and then showed a lack of remorse when she climbed a silo tower at an abandoned plant and jumped to her death Sept. 9.
After the suicide, Shaw allegedly had a Facebook post which read "Yes, I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself but I don't give a F-.."
Baez appeared with the nervous looking 12-year-old and her parents briefly in court today and argued that the limits of her home detention should be loosened up including computer access so that she can resume some school work.
The girl was given permission to attend church and go into her yard for fresh air. Circuit Judge Michael McCarthy said the young girl, who is currently suspended from school, may be able to use a computer for educational purposes only.
Shaw's attorney Andrea DeMichael entered a not guilty plea on her behalf Thursday and said they plan on reviewing all of the "discovery" evidence before determining where they take this case next. Both Shaw and the 12-year-old are expected to appear in court next Tuesday morning.
Last week Shaw's mother, Vivian Vosburg, 30, was arrested on unrelated charges. The publicity about her daughters arrest triggered tips to police about a video on Facebook showing Vosburg beating several of her children and she was charged with child abuse and neglect.
Thursday, Tricia Norman – the mother of Rebecca Sedwick, flanked by her attorneys announced that she was exploring all legal options to get "justice" for her daughter's death.
Those possible legal options include suing the parents of the two suspects, the school board, and possibly the construction site where Sedwick took her life.
A website established by her mother and her attorneys to help raise money for the teen's funeral cost and for future anti-bullying causes in one day achieved and surpassed its fundraising goal of $5,400 and have collected $8,000 so far.