TAMPA - As State's Attorneys contemplate whether or not to charge a teen murder suspect as an adult, sources close to the investigation confirmed to ABC Action News the boy recently finished a year stint in a juvenile jail.
Juvenile jail or what is technically known in courts as a committed rehabilitation program is the harshest sentence a juvenile judge can hand down. The juvenile must live at a facility for up to 18 months and receive counseling as well as other services.
Larry Donell Brown, 16, who is now accused of gunning down security officer Michael Valentin, 38, was sent to juvenile jail after 22 arrests. Of those arrests, 12 ended in felony convictions.
"The person reading the paper might go, 'Oh my god, why didn't they slam this kid away forever?" said Judge Tracy Sheehan, who is not connected to this case but has seen plenty like it. "Well, the juvenile system is meant to be rehabilitative."
Brown's rap sheet is six pages long. It shows he committed his first crime at age 10 and escalated to armed robbery within three years. He has been charged with everything from petty theft to burglary.
Brown spent time on house arrest, which his arrest record shows he violated.
When Brown picked up his latest and most serious charge on Wednesday, he was on probation and being monitored by a release officer.
Judge Sheehan, who could not comment directly about Brown's case, said juveniles who have gone through similar programs must call their release officer daily and are not to get in any more trouble.
"Everybody is going to be looking to cast blame here and we have to really look to the family because the state is not supposed to be raising kids," Judge Sheehan added.
Tampa Police said they were unable to locate Brown's father during their investigation. However, the teens mother, Nicole Bailey, 30, has her own history with police. She has even faced battery charges.
The only other known family member is Brown's grandmother. He listed her Waters Avenue home as his most recent address. His arrest record shows that since 2007 has lived in five different homes.
ABC Action News tried to reach Brown's mother and grandmother for comment, but were unsuccessful.
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