Fla. Girl's 'Science Experiment' Blows Up Into Felony Charges
A Florida teen learned the hard way that science experiments are best kept in chemistry class, after the student's volatile brew blew up into felony charges.
Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old student in Bartow, Florida, was arrested last week on charges of possession and discharge of a destructive device on school grounds, reports the Miami New Times.
With the homemade bombs of the Boston Marathon still fresh in many people's minds, it isn't a far cry to see why Wilmot is facing felony charges.
The young Floridian was charged with two felonies after she mixed aluminum foil and toilet bowl cleaner in a water bottle, causing a small explosion which blew the bottle's cap off and produced some smoke.
No other damage was reported. Teachers say they did not know what Wilmot was up to; the school's principal told the New Times, "I don't think she meant to ever hurt anyone."
Wilmot was then charged with:
- Making, possessing, and discharging a destructive device. This is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison in Florida.
- Discharging a weapon on school property. Even displaying a weapon, firearm or destructive device in school or on school property can land a violator in prison for up to five years.
Despite being sent to juvenile detention, Kiera Wilmot has also been charged with these crimes as an adult. Why?
Although laws relating to minors vary from state to state, in Florida, if a child is 16 years old at the time of committing an alleged felony, she may be charged as an adult.
In Wilmot's case, Florida law requires prosecutors to charge a 16-year-old as an adult when it is alleged that the child possessed and discharged a destructive device.
The Sunshine State is no stranger to charging teenagers as adults when violent crimes are involved, but was Wilmot's bottle "experiment" all that dangerous?
Wilmot's experimental concoction consisted of "The Works" toilet bowl cleaner and pieces of aluminum foil combined in a plastic water bottle, according to her arrest report.
This toilet cleaner contains hydrochloric acid, which, when mixed with aluminum foil, produces highly flammable hydrogen gas -- a fact not unnoticed by pyro-obsessed YouTubers.
In Florida, A "destructive device" includes containers filled with explosive gas which are capable of causing damage to people or property.
A note to teens of the nation: Getting involved in the science fair or advanced chemistry classes are two good ways to learn about chemical reactions, without the threat of prison time.
- Would a White Girl Be Prosecuted for a Botched Science Experiment? (The Huffington Post)
- Juvenile "Waiver" (Transfer to Adult Court) (FindLaw)
- FL Teacher Tried to Have Other Teacher Killed (FindLaw's Blotter)
- PA Couple Tries to Blow Up Car With Flaming Tampons (FindLaw's Legally Weird)
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