An attorney for teenage murder suspect Autumn Wood requested youthful offender status for his client at her arraignment Wednesday morning. The attorney’s previous request to try Wood as a juvenile was denied by the same judge. Under Alabama law, a person under 21 years of age may be eligible for youthful offender status. If Wood’s request for youthful offender status is granted, she will waive her right to a jury trial. Under the statute, a youthful offender can be sentenced to a maximum of three years. The statute also limits the amount of information released to the public, thus allowing the offender the opportunities for future employment that may be closed to a convicted felon.
The 17-year-old Alabama girl has been indicted on murder charges after police say she stabbed to death another girl, 14, in March. According to authorities, a group of approximately 20 teens were having a party at a house with no parents present when a fight broke out between four girls. The fight worked its way into the kitchen where police say Wood grabbed a knife and stabbed Brooklyn Hollins, who died at the scene.
Wood was gone when police arrived but turned herself in later and was charged with murder as an adult. According to testimony heard at a preliminary hearing in June, there was alcohol at the party. Witnesses said the fight was started by a friend of Hollins and a friend of Wood, and the two young women came to their friends’ defense.
Since being charged, Wood has remained free on $50,000 bail. If convicted, she faces 10 years to life in prison.