JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The state says it plans to file misdemeanor charges against three teenagers accused of luring an Oceanway Middle School student into an attack and we're hearing from the victim's attorney, who says he and the family wish the state had gone a different direction.
"The family and I are a little disappointed that it wasn't charged as a felony," says John Phillips, who represents the victim, Aria Jewett.
Phillips says the difference in this case between a felony and misdemeanor is whether or not serious bodily harm was inflicted. Phillips argues that Jewett has sustained a brain injury from the assault.
"She's still dizzy, she's still double-sighted on occasion, she still has balance issues."
Phillips says brain injuries are usually diagnosed by symptom and it's not something that would necessarily show up on a scan.
"It's unfortunate, I don't want this girl to get out with a slap on the wrist," says Phillips.
One of the teens accused in the attack is a so-called serial bully and has had problems in the past. She had been banned from Duval County Schools but an appeals court has put a stay on the complete ban until they can hear the case, so the teen was allowed to go back to a different school than Aria Jewett.
Phillips says if somebody does something violent or terrible over and over again we can't just keep letting that person go with slaps on the wrist.
The State Attorney's Office said in a news release Monday that medical records didn't show sufficient injury to file felony charges. It said Jewett did not sustain a skull fracture from the assault as the media have reported in the past.
The teens each face a charge -- one is charged with battery for the actual beating of Aria Jewett, one is charged with luring Jewett into the attack, and the third is charged with videotaping it all.
The state said because there are juveniles involved in the case that they will have no further comment.