13-year-old accused in 2 rapes can't be tried as adult, analyst says

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A 13-year-old boy accused in the sexual assault of a 7-year-old girl has also been connected to the sexual assault of an 8-year-old girl. The two girls were lured away from their homes and raped by the boy within 10 days of each other, according to police.

The first rape happened July 1 at the Hidden Lakes apartment complex on Martin Drive in New Orleans East. Less than two weeks later and just a mile away, police said the suspect lured the second girl from the Magnolia Gardens Apartments on Downman Road.

The boy was arrested on July 10. Initially, investigators didn't initially believe the cases were related based on descriptions given by the victims. However, police linked the rapes through DNA evidence. Detectives are drafting a warrant and plan to re-book the juvenile this week.

"I'm just happy he's in custody and he doesn't have to do it to anyone else," said the mother of the 7-year-old. "It just made me drop. My heart dropped. Just to see, and he grabbed the back of her neck like he knew what he was doing. Like he was demanding her."

The mother is referring to surveillance video that shows a male leading her daughter to another part of the apartment complex.

Police said they were able to tie the 13-year-old to her daughter's rape because his DNA was already in the CODIS database. CODIS, for Combined DNA Index System, is the generic term used to describe the FBI's program of support for criminal justice DNA databases and the software used to run them.

"That was another shocking thing," the mother said. "When I read up on it, I was like, how did [they have his] DNA already? That was shocking too."

New Orleans police would not say why the boy was already in the system because the department can't discuss a juvenile's criminal history. But the fact that the suspect is so young may help him avoid decades in prison.

"Because he's only 13, he cannot be tried as an adult," said FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti. "So he is going to be tried in the juvenile system. And he can get up to 21 years of age imprisonment, but after that he's got to be set free. If he was 14 or older, there was a possibility he could possibly be tried as an adult, but as a 13-year-old, he cannot be tried as an adult.

The mother of his alleged victim wants her day in court. She feels it's necessary for her daughter to meet the accused again.

"Now we're just trying to see if it was really him face-to-face," she said. "I want her to do it because I want to know for sure if that was him."

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