JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville's youngest murder suspect pleaded guilty in the death of his little brother.
Cristian Fernandez, 14, pleaded guilty today to manslaughter as a juvenile and aggravated battery as an adult.
He was arrested as a 12-year-old in 2011 and charged as an adult in the case.
Authorities say Cristian beat his 2-year-old brother David so bad that he lost consciousness. David suffered head trauma and died two days after being hospitalized.
"Today, I believe justice was served for this precious young man," said State Attorney Angela Corey.
As part of his plea deal, Cristian will be held behind bars until his 19th birthday. One of the stipulations of the deal was for Cristian to serve the entire sentence.
"This disposition will allow him to learn from the crime he committed," added Corey.
The teenager will be placed on eight years of probation after his release. If he violates probation, Corey says he will be sentenced to 15 years in adult prison.
"The sentence fits the crime based on the unique circumstance of the killer being 12 years old," said Corey.He will be required to undergo therapy. Both sides are hoping he gets the help he needs. Dr. Lynn Wadelton is a clinical psychologist. "That's going to be very difficult," said Wadelton.
She says the answer to that will depend largely on Cristian. "He's a child with anger who was hurt and acting out on animals and children for many years. It's whether he can find an outlet for that and heal," said Wadelton.
While the Department of Juvenile Justice provides behavioral and mental health services, Wadelton says Cristian will need a lot of therapy. She just hopes the state system can handle his needs. "That's the biggest thing, will he develop empathy," said Wadelton.