Murder suspect, 12, maintains innocence

Written by Christina O'Haver, The Union Democrat May 28, 2013 11:30 am

A 12-year-old Valley Springs boy charged in the stabbing death of his younger sister will plead not guilty Wednesday, defense attorney Mark Reichel said.

The boy is charged by the Calaveras County District Attorney’s Office with second-degree murder, with a special allegation of use of a dangerous weapon, in the death of Leila Fowler, 8.

He appeared in court for arraignment May 15 but the hearing was continued to give Reichel and his law partner, Steve Plesser, time to review the evidence.

Reichel said Friday afternoon that they had not yet reviewed all of the evidence. 

A detention hearing will also be held Wednesday, at which the court will determine whether the boy must remain in custody. He is held at a juvenile detention facility in El Dorado County and is not able to post bail before the hearing, Reichel said. 

The court will also set a date for the boy to return for a jurisdictional hearing setting.

At the jurisdictional hearing, a judge will determine if the boy is guilty of the charges.

Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested Leila’s brother May 11 at the sheriff’s Valley Springs substation, following a two-week investigation. The 12-year-old was booked on a charge of murder. 

Leila was found with multiple stab wounds in her home on the 5600 block of Rippon Road in Valley Springs on April 27.

The children’s father, Barney Fowler, and his fiancee, Crystal Walters, were at a baseball game nearby.

Walters dialed 911 about noon after receiving a call from the boy, who was home alone with Leila. The boy said an intruder was in the home.

Leila was taken by ambulance to Mark Twain Medical Center where she was pronounced dead about 1 p.m.

Wednesday’s hearing is scheduled for 1:15 p.m.