Kiera Wilmot Case: Prosecutor Who OK'ed Arrest Let Another Teen Slide for Killing Brother

Categories: Crime
kierawilmot.jpg
Kiera Wilmot
There are a lot of reasons Kiera Wilmot's story has exploded online this week. First, there's the sheer weirdness of a 16-year-old getting in huge trouble for a science experiment gone wrong. Then there's the racial aspect: A black girl -- exactly the type of kid underrepresented in the scientific studies -- getting heavily punished for her curiosity. But craziest of all, most of the web seems to agree, are the legal charges she's facing: two felonies for, in essence, a project that didn't hurt anyone.

The potential charges are even more galling considering that same prosecutor who gave police the OK to arrest Wilmot elected not to charge a 13-year-old just three weeks earlier for fatally shooting his younger brother.

See also:
- Florida Teen Girl Charged With Felony After Science Experiment Goes Bad

A police report obtained by Riptide earlier this week shows that after Wilmot's assistant principal caught her after mixing toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil in a plastic bottle -- in what Wilmot called a "science fair experiment" -- he called the police to school.

An officer, after hearing the facts, in turn called Polk County Assistant State Attorney Tammy Glotfelty. "I advised ASA Glotfelty of the circumstances of the case, and she advised the officer to file the charges of possessing or discharging weapons or firearms at school... and making, possessing, throwing, projecting, placing, or discharging any destructive device."

What's not clear is whether prosecutors will follow through with the charges. Wilmot is a minor, so the charges don't show up in an online records search.

Riptide contacted the Polk County State Attorney's Office. A woman named Donna, who declined to give her last name, said, "Our only comment is we're still investigating and can't say anything about it."

As several online commenters have noted, the situation is in stark contrast to Glofelty's handling of another emotionally charged case this year.

A 13-year-old from Bartow named Taylor Richardson shot and killed his 10-year-old brother, Skylar, with a BB gun March 13. A month later, Glotfelty elected not to press criminal charges. Here's what she told the Lakeland Ledger:

"Our office has considered this case, keeping in mind that (Taylor) is 13 years of age and is a student at Roosevelt Academy... After a thorough review of the facts, available to our office at this time, it is our opinion that this case can only be seen as a tragic accident."

Probably a wise choice. Now, will Glotfelty reach the same conclusion about Wilmot?

See also:
- Florida School Responds to Criticism for Expelling Student Over Science Project: "There Are Consequences to Actions"
- Scientists Back Kiera Wilmot by Tweeting About All the Stuff They've Blown Up

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42 comments
Jennie97
Jennie97

Even if the prosecutor isn't making this a racial thing, well she sure is making it seem like it is. To severely punish this smart & talented girl for just being curious is crazy. This can destroy her life if they continue with this. To give a boy a slap on the wrist for killing his brother & say well it was an accident. I'm not saying he should be punished because it might've been an accident, but they should also give Kiera the same consideration too because hers was also an accident. The say we all need to consider the consequences for our actions, well, so does the prosecutor in this case. Whatever actions she takes against this young girl, she will have to deal with the consequences that she can be destroying the rest of this young girls life. Any severe punishment will follow her for the rest of her life. Even though they say that she's a minor & when she turns 18 her juvenile record will be expunged. That won't matter because her life would already have been destroyed. She can be the person the discovers the cure for cancer but because of this ridiculous charge & possible having it on her record that will stop any college from excepting her. So, I hope the prosecutor really thinks long & hard about what the consequences can be for her actions in this case, a case that shouldn't even exist. Plus the prosecutor needs to think of this young girl & think what if she was her daughter!

chipahoy
chipahoy topcommenter

i am not saying i agree with the charges or the case, but after what happened in Boston i can certainly understand the sensitivity of the environment we are in now. 

Concerned
Concerned

Also, scientists are tweeting about their childhood "experiments". Just because they didn't get in trouble doesn't mean it's okay. Shame on them for making unsupervised dangerous experimentation okay

Concerned
Concerned

Why is the media emphasizing a science experiment? This was not a science experiment. This is a lie this child came up with that she told her administrator to try to get out of trouble for getting caught on campus before school started. This has nothing to do with race, gender or science exploration. Her teachers knew nothing about this. If she was experimenting and it wasn't a school project why didn't she do this at home while bein supervised. The first thing students learn in elementary school about science experiments is that you never do an experiment without adult supervision and never alone. Always work with a partner or group. Because this isn't her first run in with trouble. She has gotten in trouble at home for her "experiments" aka starting fires when there wasn't any parent supervision. As far as her grades I don't know where someone got the honor student label. She doesn't turn her work in on time. Even her peers aren't shocked when they hear she was the guilty paean though in her defense they do say they don't think she would intentionally hurt anyone. There are zero tolerance rules for a reason. Her timing was horrible. We are already on high alert because of the Boston bombings an a week later she does this? As a parent I don't want her going to school wit my children. She broke the rules and she should be expelled. If the device (cleaner and foil) are considered a felony then she deserves to be charged. I have seen her since she has been released and shows no remorse nor does she realize the severity of her actions. Bartow is a small community and families know each other well. Many of the teachers and administrators were our teachers and many grads come back to teach in bartow. This not so innocent girl doesn't care how her actions are impacting the other students and staff at her school and in her community. Staff are receiving hate mail even though they have no control of what the legal system does. Staff are being moved to other schools even though they have done nothing wrong. They followed the rules but the actions of the school board makes these educators look like they are guilty of something. The only person guilty of breaking the rules is kiera wilmot. I think people need to start learning the facts and not just believe a blog post before making judgements. I also find it interesting that she was released in her mother's custody yet her mother is seen around town without her. I'm happy to see she's taking this seriously... I'm sure my post will be trashed but I know I'll sleep we'll tonight knowing that I shared the truth and my children are safe with her not at their school.

alexdillon1337
alexdillon1337

Ill just leave this here.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiPjHyg5Dug


Sorry but I don't feel sorry for this girl at all.

I knew even at a young age about this kind of "experiment"

and have seen multiple videos online of kids blowing their fingers off with this.


She shouldn't be charged with a felony but deff should have some sort of punishment 

for doing such a stupid thing at school.

Mike Montero
Mike Montero

I thought everyone knew about those aluminum foil bombs. A long time ago someone in middle or high school showed me: several pieces of aluminum foil rolled up like cigars so they can fit thru the top of a 2-liter bottle, dropped into half a bottle of a certain chemical liquid, and shaken.... makes for a pretty loud explosion that at worst could end up in slight chemical burns if one didn't toss it far enough. Perfect experiment for an open field. In school? Not so much methinks.

Nicole Julian Wend
Nicole Julian Wend

explosive devices are not allowed in schools, its pretty clearly written in school code of conduct. along with guns, knives etc. its obvious that there was no science experiment, otherwise this wouldnt be an issue. you cant just blow things up and call it science (unless you with a science instructor) As for the comparison of this case to the bb gun shooting: unless that shooting occurred on school grounds i dont see how its relevant..

Ambrose Kahindiomukigawomuhimba Barigye
Ambrose Kahindiomukigawomuhimba Barigye

3RD MAY 2013 Spectrum Uganda joins the rest of the world to celebrate world press freedom day. The theme for 2013 is 'Safe to speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in all media which UNESCO selected to emphasize the need for safety among journalists, combating impunity for crimes against freedom of expression and a free, open and safe internet. It’s upon this platform that Spectrum Uganda joins hands with other humanitarian bodies calling upon all press houses and journalists for balanced and positive reporting on Sexual minority issues especially in areas of health and safety worldwide specifically in countries where same-sex relations are considered illegal. Media houses and journalists play a very integral part in advancing the fundamental rights of individuals which form part of development in our local communities. We also condemn violations towards media houses and journalists where in many parts of the world have been handled brutally in course of executing their duties. We call upon positive engagements with all stake holders as we strive for fundamental freedoms and respect for restoring human dignity. Yours Kimbugwe Moses. Programs Coordinator / Advocacy Officer. +256-783838259

Alex Anico
Alex Anico

i feel bad for kids growing up now in the sense that they cant go out and discover explore and blow shit up without the fear of being called a terrorist...

Fred Gadson
Fred Gadson

I cannot believe it- just an inquisitive mind. Now, she is being punished for being "curious", yet a white child killed someone but he wasn't charged. If no one does not see that this young, bright girl is being punished primarily because she is black, and her work was praised by President Obama. Shame on the school system, but the SA should be ashamed of its office for bringing charges based solely upon RACE!!

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

to Kiera Wilmot Seems to me like everyone just lets y'all do whatever you want. That's why y'all always get away but not this time.

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

nice try Tim Elfrink  Taylor Richardson is white.



Baby shot dead in stroller; 2 Georgia teens charged with murder on March 23, 2013  no news story on miami news time.


lulurushmore
lulurushmore

@Concerned Exactly. The scientists comparing themselves to her look silly in light of the fact that she was not actually performing an experiment as the media suggests. 

dlmetcalf
dlmetcalf

@Concerned Shame on people like you for blowing this out of all proportion.  Climbing trees is dangerous, crossing the road is dangerous, playing baseball is dangerous.  Better make all of those double-felonies too.  While we're at it, lets make sure we ban those little Christmas crackers too.  You know what's hilarious about your laws - in another five years, every student will be able to walk into the corner gun store and buy a military assault rifle and walk down the main street, conceal handguns, etc. and that's totally cool with the majority.  But a little piece of plastic making a popping sound is enough to send you into frenzy.

blackdressdolly
blackdressdolly

@Concerned Lets hang her... No, but seriously, the child made a mistake and there is no need to severely hinder or ruin her young life over a scientific experiment gone wrong. After all, it caused no injuries or damage to property. Even if this experiment was not a class requirement, it does not change the fact that she was indeed experimenting, or "exploring" science. You said so yourself, her peers do not believe she would intentionally harm anyone. I for one wish her well, and hope all charges are dropped. Perhaps one day, after enough education, she can become a successful chemist or chemical engineer... or something with a fancy scientific title.

Amanda670
Amanda670

@Concerned Scared are we? can't handle a little science. A little boom? aww. 

Amanda670
Amanda670

@alexdillon1337 I love how the dog casually walks past the bomb. Thank you for showing us nothing that is worse than baking soda and vinegar.

dlmetcalf
dlmetcalf

@alexdillon1337  Not even enough power to split a rotten piece of wood at blank range.  Proves how completely non-destructive such a 'device' is.  Yet people are calling this puff of smoke and little piece of plastic (10 grams of polyethylene?) a weapon.  Strange that you agree she shouldn't be charged with a felony, let alone 2 felonies, but at the same time you say you don't feel sorry for her at all when she is charged?  Gee... you must be a really empathetic type of guy.

damons.chg
damons.chg

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ehavoc
ehavoc

@Nicole Julian Evans  So it's okay if I, as a science teacher, blow something up, but it is not okay for a kid to try the same experiment? How do you think science teachers learn how to blow things up? I was once a kid and did this same experiment. Granted doing the experiment at school was poor choice, but to punish a child for scientific curiosity is wrong. 

Misterwrong
Misterwrong

@Nicole Julian Evans So what happens if I shake up a can of soda?  Should I be charged with a felony?  After all I am intentionally applying kinetic energy liberating carbon dioxide from a soluble liquid causing an explosion.

ivxx
ivxx

@Nicole Julian Evans how obvious was it..? Where you there? Did you find journals about her planning this? Did she post on online websites about how much she hates her school and wants to bring in a bomb?

And the cases ARE relevant to each other. Why can the same state attorney view one as an accident, and the other as a malicious attack on school grounds? Kids make stupid decisions all the time, and it's perfectly fine to teach them a lesson, but this is an overreaction. This mistake will inevitably cost this girl her future.

Amanda670
Amanda670

@Fred Gadson Ok just because you disagree with what happened does not mean you can lie about it. I think what the school and authorities did was wrong but Obama sure as hell not going to get involved with this.

scotdance1
scotdance1

@Fred Gadson Wait, what?  Her work was praised by President Obama?  Please tell me where I can find this.

tarabela
tarabela

@Fred Gadson You need to look at the (non-race related) facts.  The charges, the ages, the disposition  of the children, the setting. These cases are not analogous.

ivxx
ivxx

@drakemallard because that was in georgia.. and you said yourself they were charged..

Amanda670
Amanda670

@dlmetcalf @alexdillon1337 people are too sensitive to the situation. They are bred with fear and to immediately prosecute anyone with out a proper investigation judge or jury. Alex is part of what is wrong in this country.

dlmetcalf
dlmetcalf

@Nicole Julian Evans @Misterwrong  Better make eating baked beans a triple-felony. Then we can charge the next kid with conducting a biochemical weapon attack and call in the Feds!  Who knows, maybe we could use it to justify invading Mexico or some other unrelated country too.  Better be safe though and just drone strike the whole of Bartow in advance in case it might become dangerous later.

tarabela
tarabela

@ivxx

It's completely different.  

1) Fact: one was on school grounds; one wasn't.

2)  Fact: one was 16; one was 13 (there IS a difference in the criminal justice system, whether you like it or not)

3) Assumption based on given evidence: one is, for all intents and purposes, a reasonably-minded teenager; the other - you may want to notice the ADA's comment about Roosevelt Academy and look up the school - likely has some sort of mental or behavioral disability - possibly to the point where the child may not have been able to be held to the same "reasonable child" standard for intent or recklessness. (http://schools.polk-fl.net/rooseveltacademy/generalinfo.htm)

4) Fact: The charges are not even similar - one was for making and possessing a destructive device and for having said device on school grounds; the other likely would have been for manslaughter or some such homicide charge.

alexdillon1337
alexdillon1337

@Amanda670@alexdillon1337@Amanda670  Have you ever been at a school science lab? Shit exploded all the time! And looking for particular instances where this went bad is just to build a poor argument. There are a lot of things that go wrong in with in the most careful of situations"


So by this logic, every person who owns a gun in America, shoots innocent people? Because thats the argument to ban guns. Same shit you just spewed out. 

alexdillon1337
alexdillon1337

@Amanda670 @alexdillon1337 

Yeah and there was an Adult present, who does something called "supervising" 


So because this girl decided to do something not so harmful on school grounds makes it ok? 

"Oh no one got hurt its ok!" 

So what happens when some kid tries this again, except with more volume and ends up burning all his friends at the bike racks after school? 

"Oh it was a science experiment man!" 


Im actually going to experiment making a Drano bomb at a local park for kids. Should be ok right? I mean it is in the name of Science. 


Amanda670
Amanda670

@alexdillon1337 @Amanda670 Alex obviously scarcasm is not a strong point for you. Also, you never knew about witness or heard about an explosion in the science lab in high school you a re a liar. 

alexdillon1337
alexdillon1337

@Amanda670 @alexdillon1337 

No Amanda, I actually slipped through the cracks and was allowed not to attend school my whole life. You must be the sharpest knife in the drawer. 

I can remember at my school lab (this is obviously a lie since I never went to school as per your investigative work) there was an older gentleman there, who we answered to, and would CAREFULLY supervise us in a CONTROLLED environment, while we mixed chemicals. I think they call this person a teacher. Not sure though. Do you have a youtube video I can watch for that?


Amanda670
Amanda670

@alexdillon1337 @Amanda670  Have you ever been at a school science lab? Shit exploded all the time! And looking for particular instances where this went bad is just to build a poor argument. There are a lot of things that go wrong in with in the most careful of situations.

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