Three teenage girls have been charged in the fatal beating of a classmate, who died after she was assaulted in her Delaware high school’s bathroom last month, officials said.
Amy Anita Joyner-Francis, 16, had reportedly gone into one of the restrooms at Wilmington’s Howard High School of Technology to “settle” an issue with another group of girls about 8 a.m. on April 22.
Joyner-Francis was rushed to A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital after the meeting turned violent, authorities said. She was pronounced dead there.
The sophomore died from “a cardiac incident that she was vulnerable to because of a pre-existing heart condition, but the cardiac incident would not have occurred had she not been assaulted,” the state Department of Justice said in a statement Monday.
The autopsy did not detect any internal injuries or significant blunt force injuries.
Tricia Carr, 16, was charged with criminally negligent homicide, the DOJ said, adding that they will seek to have her tried as an adult. If she is found guilty, she could face up to eight years in prison.
Two other girls, Chakeira Wright and Zion Snow, were charged with criminal conspiracy in connection to the incident in the bathroom, a charge that carries up to one year in prison. They will be tried as juveniles.
“The individuals responsible for Amy Joyner-Francis’s death are minors, but they must be held accountable for their actions,” the DOJ said, alleging that only Carr actually hit the victim.
The fight was filmed and allegedly shows Carr repeatedly punching Joyner-Francis in the head and torso, according to court documents viewed by The Delaware News Journal.
Carr then left and Joyner-Francis tried to stand, but collapsed back on the floor, the court documents say the video shows.
Communication between the three girls charged reportedly showed that they planned the assault in the 20 hours prior to the attack.
They followed the victim into the bathroom before the assault, the court papers allege.
Delaware law does not allow for a charge of conspiracy to commit negligent homicide, the DOJ said, noting that the charge that Wright and Snow face “is the highest level of criminal conspiracy allowed by law given the facts of this case.”
Loved ones were at a loss after Joyner-Francis’ death.
The teen was focused on college and encouraged her friends to rise above petty drama, friends said.
“She never would beef with no other girls or none of that,” Capone Whyte, who went to school with Joyner-Francis, told WXIA-TV.
“She didn’t believe in fighting, and the craziest thing is she died in a fight,” Nik Stryminski told the station.
Sonny Francis, the teen's father, told WTXF-TV his daughter was a great student who loved fashion and her family.
He said she was especially close to her mother, who dropped her off at school that morning.
"I think this is a dream and I'm trying to wake up," he tearfully told WTXF-TV. "All I know is that my daughter's gone, and she was the love of my life, and it hurts."
Prosecutors and detectives met with the victim’s mother and older brother before announcing the charges brought against the three girls, officials said.