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A tragic case out of Maryland has left a 65-year-old teacher dead and a 14-year-old boy charged with murder and facing the possibility of being tried as an adult. The boy was 13 when he allegedly raped and killed teacher Hannah Wheeling in a state detention facility. Prosecutors have filed papers requesting to try the boy as an adult. Judge C. Philip Nichols Jr. will be hearing the matter on August 27.
"Whoever wins that, wins the case," said Byron L. Warnken, a longtime University of Baltimore law professor, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The 14-year-old boy, whose name has not been released due to his age, was being held at Cheltenham Youth Facility on burglary charges when Wheeling was killed. He quickly became a suspect after being seen with Wheeling shortly before her death.
Wheeling was giving the boy a test at around 4 p.m. and at around 5 p.m., the boy was seen running up the stairs in an anxious manner, according to anonymous sources. Wheeling was found murdered at 8 a.m. the next day. She had been bludgeoned, strangled and raped. Investigators found three shirts with Hannah Wheeling's blood on them, one with the boys name on it.
The reason that professor Warnken believes that the case will turn on the August 27th hearing is because of the major differences in punishment between adult and juvenille court.
If the boy is charged with murder as an adult, he has the potential of facing up to life in prison with no chance of parole. According to The Baltimore Sun, if he is charged as a juvenile, the worst he can face is confinement in a juvenile rehabilitation facility until he is 21 years old.