Judge says teen stabbing suspect viewed as adult

March 25, 2011 10:52:37 AM PDT
He's only 16, but a Northern High School student is facing some very serious charges.The charges come after Eric Prince Jr. stabbed a fellow classmate during a fight Thursday morning before school started.

The 16-year-old made his first court appearance on Friday morning.

During his appearance, Prince was surrounded by family members and vocal community activist Victoria Peterson as a judge informed Prince that in the courtroom and in the eyes of the law, he is an adult.

"I'm a minor," Prince Jr. told the judge.

"In this courtroom, you're actually an adult, so you have to make a decision as to what you want to do about an attorney, so I need to hear from you sir," the judge replied.

Prince told the judge he has hired an attorney and had nothing to say as he left the courthouse.

But Peterson says his case is an example of a system that needs changing.

"The judge stated he was in adult court, but he is not an adult," she said. "He's a minor, he is 16-years-old. He is a child, he should be handled like a child and not like not like an adult."

Prince is charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and having a weapon on educational property.

Deputies say the 16-year-old victim was stabbed twice in the rib cage and once in his groin. He is expected to survive.

"They're distraught about it, they're very concerned about their child, which we all are," Peterson added.

A Durham County public schools spokesperson says Prince has been disciplined according to school policy for this type of incident, which would mean he's been expelled.

His next court appearance is scheduled for May 23.

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