Oftentimes when minors commit crimes they get a slap on the wrist. Typical sentences entail house arrest, probation, community service and short-term stays in a juvenile facility. However, depending on the severity of a crime and how often a minor commits them, a judge can gauge whether or not a juvenile should be charged as an adult. One East Bay judge recently decided that a 17-year-old will soon face an adult prosecution.
According to the Oakland Police Department, an elderly couple was robbed at gunpoint at the MacArthur BART station by Eriq Abernathy, 17, and his girlfriend, 16, on Monday, October 10. The teens took cash, credit cards, and the couple's 2004 BMW. The car was retrieved later that day in another part of town.
Abernathy and his girlfriend are also facing accusations of stealing a Mercedes, money and several other items from four men in Sacramento near Lake Merritt on October 22. While the men were fleeing the scene, Abernathy fired multiple gunshots. That night, the teens were pulled over in the stolen car by the police. The girl was arrested and Abernathy got away.
When police interrogated Abernathy's girlfriend she refused to reveal his full name. Nevertheless, an officer in the robbery unit had recognized him in a lineup due to prior run-ins with the law. Abernathy is no stranger to the Oakland law enforcement. He had been incarcerated in juvenile court for second-degree armed robbery in 2014 and was currently released in July.
Just three days after his girlfriend's arrest, Abernathy was apprehended on the cross streets 14th and Broadway in the downtown Oakland area. He confessed to the robberies and admitted he and his girlfriend broke the law because they needed the extra money.
Abernathy will be charged as an adult with six counts of armed robbery and two counts of armed carjacking, while his girlfriend will be charged in juvenile court for robbery and several other charges. Abernathy's bail is set at a whopping $1.9 million, with a deadline to enter a plea by November 15.
According to Frontline, California and 43 other states passed laws that made it easier to transfer juvenile defendants to the adult system. States pushed to enact stricter sentences in hopes that minors will think twice before breaking the law.
An armed robbery charge is listed as a felony in the California Penal Code, and can easily lead up to nine years in prison. Sentences involving grand theft auto are unpredictable. If either one of those charges are pinned on you, it can affect your future. Attorney Lynn Gorelick has devoted 30 years to defending people charged with criminal offenses. You do not have to plead guilty just because you are arrested. If you are in the East Bay and facing a conviction, contact Gorelick law offices.