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Attorney says 11-year-old Pinellas girl accused of setting mom on fire should be freed

CLEARWATER — The attorney for the 11-year-old girl accused of setting her mother on fire is arguing that she should not be prosecuted.

And he says the girl's mother agrees.

Attorney Roger Futerman also asked during a hearing Friday that a judge release the girl from the Pinellas County Juvenile Detention Center. The judge denied the request, but set another hearing for Wednesday.

Futerman said the girl's mother, Nancy Broadhead, wants the prosecution to focus on Jack Ault, the 15-year-old who also has been accused in the case, because she believes he is the one responsible for the incident.

Broadhead declined to speak to a reporter Friday. The St. Petersburg Times is not naming the girl because of her age.

Broadhead, 48, woke up to flames in her home on Dec. 29. Clearwater police said her daughter and Ault poured gasoline around Broadhead's bed and set it afire. Ault has been described as the 11-year-old's boyfriend.

Broadhead escaped from the home. She was hospitalized and released.

Both Ault and the girl have been charged with arson and attempted murder.

Now the court system is deciding how to proceed against the two.

Joe Walker, head of the state attorney's juvenile division, said one option would be to present the girl's case to a grand jury to try her as an adult. That would be a highly unusual step, if not an unprecedented one, against such a young person.

It's more common, and legally more simple, for prosecutors to charge a 15-year-old such as Ault as an adult. But that decision has not been made either.

Futerman, a private attorney, said Nancy Broadhead's sister hired him to represent the 11-year-old girl.

"The mother doesn't want the girl prosecuted, and she's 11 years of age," Futerman said.

Attorney says 11-year-old Pinellas girl accused of setting mom on fire should be freed 01/08/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 8, 2010 9:40pm]
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