Teen accused in arson case charged as adult

JACKSON, MI (WLNS) – A 15-year-old girl accused of burning down her father’s home last November is being charged as an adult.

Her dad was seriously hurt in that fire.

The teen’s boyfriend at the time has already been sentenced to 15 to 30 years for the same crime.

As our Jackson bureau reporter Genna Hilgenbrink explains, there’s a new effort to get Alexis Penn charged as a juvenile, instead of an adult.

“You know what you’re lucky you’re not here for sentencing for? What’s that? It’s called felony murder,” said Judge McBain.

Damion Hopkins is the man convicted of burning down Alexis Penn’s father’s home.

Now, it is Penn’s turn to face a judge for her alleged connection to the arson.

Even though she was 14 at the time of the crime, she is being charged as an adult.

Her attorney is now taking action.

“What I’m trying to do is get her treated as a juvenile at her sentencing,” said Lynn D’Orio, Penn’s attorney.

Lynn D’Orio, Penn’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss, which states the prosecution abused its discretion by charging Penn as an adult.

“Because there’s so few girls that are waved into adult court there are no resources in the Michigan department of corrections,” said D’Orio.

Penn was determined to be mentally ill at the time of the offense.

Her attorney says it is necessary for Penn to keep seeing her therapist, even while in jail.

Something her attorney says wouldn’t be possible if she is charged as an adult.

“I’m trying to save a child’s life and that’s how I look at it,” said D’Orio.

6 News reached out to the Jackson County prosecutor, but did not receive a response. Penn faces up to life in prison if convicted as an adult.

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