Boy, 14, charged with fatally strangling, sexually assaulting western Wisconsin girl, 10
Iliana (Lily) Peters was reported missing Sunday night. Her body was found Monday morning near a trail by Leinenkugel's Brewing Co. Chippewa Falls is about 100 miles east of St. Paul.
CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. — The 14-year-old boy accused of killing 10-year-old Iliana (Lily) Peters was charged Wednesday afternoon in Chippewa County Court with first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of sexual assault.
He will remain in custody on a $1 million bond.
"He essentially strangled her and hit her with a stick," said Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell.
He then sexually assaulted her, Newell told Chippewa County Judge Ben Lane.
At least for now, the case is in adult court. However, it could later be moved to juvenile court.
"There is a process for (the defense attorneys) to seek a reverse waiver," Newell explained.
When asked if he would oppose a waiver, Newell said he couldn't answer that question at this time. He wants to see more evidence in the case.
The defendant, identified by his initials C. P-B., appeared via video from the Eau Claire Juvenile Detention Center. His defense attorneys, Karl Schmidt and Kirby Harless, sat with him at the JDC. They waived time limits on his preliminary hearing.
Newell requested a $1 million cash bond, saying he was concerned he would flee if he posted bond.
"Given the statements he gave to law enforcement, that he intended to rape and kill the victim, there is a need to protect the community," Newell told Lane.
Lane agreed and set the $1 million cash bond, and he set the next court hearing for May 5. If the suspect is able to post bond, he cannot have any contact with juveniles or possess weapons.
"This is a serious charge," Lane said. "I have to consider the threats to the community. The court is concerned this could be a further threat if he wasn't in custody."
The defense had asked for a $100,000 cash bond.
"We do not feel that setting a bond in excess of $100,000 is necessary or appropriate in this case," Schmidt said to Lane. "He is 14 and an eighth grader. He can't drive."
Schmidt added: "He is a lifetime resident of Chippewa County. We believe a $100,000 cash bond would be adequate to ensure he doesn't flee."
Lane ordered the criminal complaint to be sealed, so it is not available to media or the public.
After the hearing, Newell outlined the three charges in a press conference with the media. The suspect is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree sexual assault of a child, resulting in great bodily harm; each of those two Class A felonies carry a maximum penalty of life in prison. He also was charged with first-degree sexual assault, a Class B felony, which carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and 20 years of extended supervision.
"All three of the charges require he intended to do something — you went into the situation with that intent," Newell explained.
While Newell said the suspect had a plan to kill her, he couldn't say how long ago he formulated that plan.
The court made the decision for the suspect to appear remotely rather than appear in person, Newell added.
Newell couldn't divulge details of how Peters and the suspect knew each other. He added he hasn't met with Peters' family. Peters was a fourth grader at Parkview Elementary School.
Judge Lane issued a ruling Wednesday morning, prior to the hearing, barring photos of the suspect, and also requiring decorum in the courtroom.
"We have to preserve the juvenile's rights but also the rights of the victims," Lane said.
Peters was reported missing Sunday night. Her body was found Monday morning near a trail by Leinenkugel's Brewing Co. Chippewa Falls is about 100 miles east of St. Paul.
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