WHITE SPRINGS, Fla. — One teenage girl accused of plotting to kill her older brother was angry that he beat her up earlier that day, provoking the fatal shooting, authorities said Wednesday.
The 15-year-old girl, whom USA TODAY is not identifying because the 3rd Circuit state attorney has not decided yet whether to charge her as an adult, allegedly shot her 16-year-old brother, Damien Kornegay, sometime Monday evening with a handgun retrieved from a locked room, according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office spokesman. She faces a charge of premeditated murder.
The siblings’ 11-year-old sister also is being held because she is accused of getting the gun from the locked room, sheriff’s spokesman Murray Smith said. She, too, is not being identified because of her age and faces a charge of premeditated murder.
Children arrested for crimes and treated as juveniles can be held in detention for a maximum of 30 days under Florida law.
The children’s parents — Keith Kornegay, 37, and Misty Kornegay, 33 — were away for the night, Smith said. They were arrested Tuesday, charged with child neglect causing great bodily harm and are accused of failing to properly supervise their children.
A judge set the parents’ bond at $20,000 Wednesday and ordered that they cannot have unsupervised contact with their children. The Florida Department of Children and Families has taken a 3-year-old also in their home into custody.
Police in White Springs, a town of about 800 people 70 miles west of Jacksonville, Fla., learned of the crime a little before 10 p.m. ET Monday after receiving a phone call from the mother of a friend of the 11-year-old. The girl told her friend that she had run away and needed someone to pick her up at a Dollar General store, according to a police report.
When the woman arrived she found the older sister there, too, who mentioned that something might be wrong with another sibling at home, the report said. Officers who responded talked to the teen.
As she spoke, she applied makeup and « would not maintain eye contact and appeared emotionless, » according to their report.
But soon she started crying and told the officers that her brother had beaten her, thrown her into her bedroom, and locked the door. She told officers that when he went to sleep her younger sister unlocked the door.
The teen said she then shot her brother, according to the report.
Columbia County deputies, who were contacted to check the house, found Damien dead in the living room. The weapon was on a blanket in the hallway.
The teen had told police that her parents were due to return around 5 a.m. Tuesday.
Columbia County is home to about 70,000 residents and hasn’t had a homicide in more than a year, officials said.
Because the children’s parents also are under arrest — all had their first appearances in court scheduled Wednesday — any of the siblings who might be released from state custody can’t return home now.
« I may be forced to actually charge them as adults to hold them in juvenile detention until I can work something out, » said Jeff Siegmeister, 3rd Circuit state attorney. « I don’t know all of the facts yet. »
Contributing: Lisa Robbins, WTLV- and WJXX-TV, Jacksonville, Fla.; The Associated Press