Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sexual Abuse, Animal Death in His Profile; Suspect, 12, Described in Documents

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sexual Abuse, Animal Death in His Profile; Suspect, 12, Described in Documents

Article excerpt

Byline: David Hunt

Court papers filed Friday in the case of a 12-year-old Jacksonville boy charged with first-degree murder say he has sexually assaulted children, including a sibling, and once beat a kitten to death by slamming its head on the floor.

Although much has been said about Cristian Fernandez's abusive upbringing, the 17-page filing was the first look the public has been able to take at some of the deviant behaviors prosecutors say preceded an indictment for his 2-year-old half brother's March beating death.

The filing was part of an argument to keep Fernandez in the Duval County jail, but a judge's ruling moved him to a juvenile facility Friday.

The details were extracted from a forensic psychologist's report and child-welfare documents.

The psychologist's report traces problem behaviors back to 2002, when Fernandez would have been 3.

Psychologist William Meadows also wrote in the May 26 report that Fernandez talked about killing a pet kitten, punching it and slamming its head on the floor, because it scratched him in the face.

The report notes two physical fights with other youths since Fernandez was taken into custody in mid-March. It also details public masturbation, an incident in which he simulated a sex act on a male child twice his age and the sexual assault of his surviving half brother.

Meadows also took into account past abuse where Fernandez had been a victim. A standardized test labeled him a high risk for future violence.

Prosecutors contend that Fernandez repeatedly slammed 2-year-old half brother David Galarraga's head on a bookshelf to kill him. The psychological report shows Fernandez's perception of the death from the Meadows interview:

"He said that he picked up his younger brother and pushed him into the bookcase. He said that his brother was bleeding and unresponsive so he carried him to the bed and called his mother.

"Cristian denied any plans or intent to kill his brother. He seemed rather defensive about discussing what triggered his anger. He talked about having a flashback of the abuse by his stepfather as the motive for this offense."

The stepfather, Luis Galarraga, shot himself to death in front of Fernandez's younger sibling last October as the Hialeah police were coming to arrest him for abusing Fernandez. …

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