ASHVILLE, Ala. (AP) – An Alabama teenager accused of hanging his 9-year-old half-sister from a tree outside the rural home where they lived was indicted on a capital murder charge, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Grand jurors returned the indictment this week against John Dillon Salers, 15, in the death of Katelynn Arnold of Ragland, said St. Clair County District Attorney Richard Minor.
While the charge typically can carry a death penalty, Minor said Salers was not eligible for the punishment because of his age when the girl died last year.
“He was 14 at the time,” said Minor.
A judge previously ruled Salers could be charged as an adult in the child’s death.
An attorney for Salers, who has been held without bond, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
A hearing is scheduled for November for Salers to enter a plea, the prosecutor said.
Salers and the girl were in the care of their aunt and uncle when she died on May 10, 2012, authorities have said.
Investigators said the boy called the girl over to a tree while she was riding her bike near the home. The girl’s foster mother later found her hanging from a rope.
Authorities believe they know the motive, Minor said, but he declined to release it.
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