TACOMA — A 14-year-old Puyallup boy was charged Tuesday with kidnapping, raping and trying to kill a 7-year-old neighbor girl, and now prosecutors want the suspect tried as an adult.
“This crime is so severe that the safety of the community calls out for adult accountability,” said Mark Lindquist, Pierce County prosecutor.
In Juvenile Court Tuesday, the 14-year-old pleaded not guilty to kidnapping, attempted murder, rape, and rape of a child.
“It’s hard to believe he did it because I try to imagine that my best friend would do that and it’s hard,” said Desiree Jiles, 14, who came to court with her mom to show support for the teen.
According to police, the suspect lured the girl he knew from the playground at their Puyallup apartment complex, and attacked her in the woods, sexually assaulting her, and trying to choke her to death to cover up the crime.
Detectives said the boy told them he “had to get rid of her so she wouldn’t tell anyone.”
Lindquist said, “That sounds like attempted murder and it sounds like someone eliminating a sexual assault victim so she couldn’t testify against him.”
It could be weeks before the judge decides whether the boy will be tried as an adult. For now, he is being held without bail.
If the defendant were prosecuted as a juvenile, he would be facing a maximum sentence of six and a half years. If convicted as an adult, he faces up to 30 years in prison.
The girl, who underwent surgery to repair damage to her throat, was still hospitalized Tuesday but upgraded to satisfactory condition. A child assault specialist doctor found clear signs of sexual assault, the prosecutor’s office said.