More than two months after applying, Alabama teenager Autumn Wood has been denied youthful offender status. She is charged with murder in the March stabbing death of 14-year-old Brooklyn Hollins.
Youthful offender status offers teenagers charged with crimes a chance at a productive life after trial. The statute puts a limit on 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. Had she been granted the status, Wood would have waived her right to a jury trial and been sentenced to a maximum of three years under Alabama law.
Wood has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 14-year-old Brooklyn Hollins, and claims she acted in self-defense after being jumped. If convicted, she faces ten years to life.
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.
Friends of Hollins rejoiced yesterday on the RIP Brooklyn Ann Hollins Facebook page, where a status about the latest court decision garnered nearly 500 likes.