Crime - Sacto 911

Rocklin teen accused in sister’s death appears in court

Ashley Wood, left in both photos, was found dead in her home in July. She is shown at Technique Gymnastics in Rancho Cordova, where she trained in gymnastics.
Ashley Wood, left in both photos, was found dead in her home in July. She is shown at Technique Gymnastics in Rancho Cordova, where she trained in gymnastics. Courtesy of Amanda Bowers

The 14-year-old boy accused of killing his sister in their Rocklin home will face a Sacramento Superior Court judge in December, a Placer Juvenile Court judge ruled Thursday.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge James Arguelles will be assigned the case, visiting Judge Thomas E. Warriner ordered at the afternoon hearing in Auburn. Arguelles will act as a Placer Juvenile Court judge to hear the matter set for Dec. 6, attorneys said following the hearing.

The teen, silent, shackled at his wrists and ankles, and dressed in green jail clothes, walked stiffly into Placer Juvenile Court’s Department 12 led by court bailiffs to his seat next to his attorneys.

Whether the youth will be tried as an adult in 13-year-old Ashley Wood’s death is unclear in a case unusual from its outset. The children’s father was a Placer County deputy district attorney prosecuting homicide cases at the time of the July incident.

Ashley Wood, 13, an accomplished gymnast who used to train at Technique Gymnastics in Rancho Cordova, died of an apparent assault causing blunt-force injuries at her family’s Rocklin home on July 19.

The Placer County District Attorney’s Office announced in the days following the incident that it could not handle the case due to conflicts of interest and state prosecutors were called to take on the case.

If the teen is tried as a minor, a number of protections for juveniles apply. Court documents will be sealed and proceedings will not be announced or posted. Those safeguards would be lifted if a judge rules he can be tried as an adult.

The teen remains held in El Dorado County juvenile custody in Placerville.

If the boy is convicted as a juvenile he could be held at a juvenile facility until he is 25 years old. If he is tried and convicted as an adult, he could face a 25-year prison sentence, but would remain in juvenile confinement until he is 25.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

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