A Calaveras County teen was convicted of second-degree murder Tuesday in the stabbing death of his 8-year-old sister.
Isiah Fowler faces a Nov. 4 sentencing in the April 27, 2013, death of his sister, Leila. Fowler, then 12, told investigators he encountered an attacker in the home. He was arrested days after his sister’s slaying.
Defense attorney Mark Reichel said he planned to appeal the conviction.
Calaveras Superior Court Judge Thomas A. Smith sentenced Fowler after three weeks of proceedings. The boy did not face a jury trial because he was prosecuted as a juvenile.
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Fowler, now 15, can expect to be incarcerated until his 23rd birthday, said Kate Storm, an administrative assistant to Calaveras County District Attorney Barbara Yook.
Yook argued that Fowler killed his sister – stabbing her 23 times – before cleaning himself and at least 45 minutes later calling his parents about an intruder, according to published reports. The prosecutor also seized upon “inconsistent” statements to a 911 dispatcher.
“Our hearts are with the Fowler family and those that loved her,” Storm said. With one child now convicted of killing the other, Storm said the family is in a “very difficult position.”
The Fowler family believes an unknown assailant is behind the grisly murder, Reichel said.
News outlets reported Tuesday that the Fowler family stormed out of court and voiced their frustration in the wake of the judge’s decision.
“This is a horrendous time for the family. We are convinced our client is innocent and we will never stop fighting,” Reichel said.
Reichel said the judge convicted Fowler based on inconsistent statements of the 12-year-old and ignored more substantive evidence.
He said the stabbing produced blood spray that covered the walls.
“The killer was a bloody mess,” Reichel said.
And yet, Reichel said, Isiah wasn’t covered with blood. He argues that the incident occurred while the boy was hiding in a bathroom, right before the 911 call.
“How did the boy clean up his arms and face?” Reichel asked.