The mother of a murdered teen is not looking forward to the New Year after learning her son's killer will be released the day after the holiday. A technical error played a role in his early release.
The teen, who was 16 years old when he shot 17-year-old Edward Mills in 2007, was tried and found to be responsible for the murder in juvenile court. Mills' mother, Tammy, read a letter she received from the Juvenile Justice Department on Thursday.
"Please be advised that (the juvenile) who has been charged with murder will be released from the juvenile court system January the 2nd. 2012,” the letter said.
Mills wasn't expecting to ring in the New Year with such startling news.
"He's on his way home on the second, and I'm still in the process of getting a tombstone for my son," she told Channel 2 Action News reporter Tom Jones.
Prosecutors initially attempted to try the teen as an adult in 2008, but then it was discovered that the district attorney’s office had not indicted him within 180 days, as required by law.
That meant the case went to juvenile court, where the teen received much less time than he would if he had been tried as an adult.
Mills says no one even apologized.
"Even if it was a mistake. Even mistakes you can say you're sorry," she said.
The D.A. at the time, Jewel Scott, said police didn't send her office all the case files it needed to move forward. Police said it did and said Scott's office didn't send them a form requesting the files.
Still, police said, Scott could have taken the case before a grand jury to keep it in Superior Court.
Mills blames Scott.
"I mean, justice was just ...was not served," she said. “It just happened, Tom. It just happened. And he's walking out with a pat on the back.”
Mills said she doesn't want anyone else to go through what she went through.
"His family is, I'm pretty sure, rejoicing. Cause the New Year is coming in and they have their son coming home. I will never see mine again,” Mills said.
Scott said by phone, once again, that if her office had received the case files on time from the police department this case would have been prosecuted like hundreds of others.
The juvenile justice department would not say anything about the teen's sentence or why he's being released now. Mills said back in 2008, the court told her he would be released when he became an adult.