Family of murdered 6-year-old girl seeks death penalty - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Family of murdered 6-year-old girl seeks death penalty

Harvey, La. -

The family of the 6-year-old girl murdered in Harvey says they want the man arrested for the crime to get a death sentence.  And if a grand jury indicts Matthew Flugence on a first-degree murder charge, that could happen.

It was a crime that still shocks.  20-year-old Mathew Flugence, held without bond in Gretna, is charged with the murder of Ahlittia North, described by her family as a bright little girl who loved to dance.

"I didn't think they had a mind frame like that. I don't understand," said the victim's mother, Lisa North.

Detectives are putting together a report for a DA, who will likely seek the first-degree murder indictment before a grand jury and a possible death sentence.

"For the people who did this, I hope they get the maximum punishment. She didn't deserve it," said North.

Prosecutors often consider the wishes of a victim's family in determining punishment. But Steve Wimberly with the Jefferson DA's office wouldn't comment at this time on whether they will seek the death penalty or not. 

Nationwide, the numbers for capital punishment are way down, from a high of 99 in 1998 to just 46 last year.

"One of the reasons why it's decreased, it's very expensive. It's less expensive to have someone in jail for life," said Tom Ryan, an anti-death penalty activist.

Death penalty opponents say such cases require twice as many trials, twice as many attorneys, and grind out for decades. "There's a real danger that an innocent person can be executed... they have been executed," said Ryan.

And since the death penalty was reinstated 37 years ago, 142 death row inmates have been exonerated, often through DNA analysis.

"I don't have an opinion for or against death penalty. This guy deserves it, but if they are looking for resolution, this doesn't get resolved,' said FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.

The family of Ahlittia North is making their views clear.  "They put her through all that pain, and they should have pain," said North.

But before that can happen, a grand jury will have to decide if a first-degree murder charge is justified.

They are now waiting for the report, from the Jefferson parish sheriff's office, before taking the case to a grand jury, but for now, he is being held on a first degree murder charge, with no bond set.

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