Sunday, May 19, 2013 6:02 AM
Published on: Thursday, March 14, 2013
By Shannon McHale
ROCKVILLE, Md. – A 14-year-old accused of killing his infant sister will be tried as a juvenile and not an adult, according to the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s office on Friday.
Jonathan Aguiluc of Silver Spring was initially charged as an adult for first-degree murder after confessing to police that he suffocated his 7-month-old sister, Larissa Yanes, on the night of Feb. 7.
Gloria Yanes, the children’s mother, left Aguiluc to babysit Larissa and another 3-year-old sibling while she worked a night shift. Yanes left the Lockwood Drive apartment at 10:30 p.m., and returned at about 5:30 a.m. the next morning to what she thought was a sleeping baby.
Yanes attempted to wake Larissa at 6:00 a.m. to feed her but found the infant unresponsive. The 39-year-old mother immediately called police, and paramedics rushed Larissa to Holy Cross Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
A preliminary investigation found suspicious injuries on Larissa’s body, according to Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy. Aguiluc told the county detectives investigating his sister’s death that he had beaten her until she cried, then covered her nose and mouth until she stopped crying. Police arrested Aguiluc and charged him as an adult for first-degree murder.
The county medical examiner released findings soon after the arrest that identified Larissa’s injuries as post-mortem bug bites, and not bruises from having been beaten.
Aguiluc was held without bond on Feb. 11 and transferred to the Alfred D. Noyes Children’s Center in Rockville, where he was detained until Friday.
A preliminary hearing that day revealed the state’s decision to charge Aguiluc as a juvenile and to reduce the charge to second-degree murder.
“The facts of the case initially supported the police charging first-degree. That charge is why Mr. Aguiluc, who was only 14 at the time of his initial arrest, was brought into the adult system. By Maryland law if you over the age of 14 and you are charged with a crime that carries a life sentence, that, by statute, is where your case has to begin,” said McCarthy on Friday.
McCarthy added that, “A careful review into evidence shows that the appropriate charge in the estimation of the State’s Attorney’s Office is second-degree murder… one of the factors contributing to this decision to charge this matter as second-degree in the juvenile court is that the police and the state have learned that the majority of the visible injuries on the child are the result of post mortem insect activities.”
Deputy District Public Defender Mary Siegfried, who is Aguiluc’s representation, said in court she “disagrees that this is second-degree murder,” and that her office will argue against the charge in juvenile court.
The state’s decision to try Aguiluc as a juvenile came early enough that Siegfried had not yet filed a juvenile hearing wavier on Aguiluc’s behalf.
McCarthy said that he believes that his office and the police “are 100 percent in agreement that this is the appropriate way to proceed in this matter,” and would not say whether charges have been brought against Gloria Yanes.
Yanes declined to comment on the case, which will become confidential as it moves to the juvenile court system.