A 13-year-old Florida honors student has been charged as an adult for the murder of his mother earlier this month as she slept next to his newborn half-sister.
Derek Rosa was not in court on Friday to face the first degree murder charge in the October 12 stabbing death of Irina Garcia, 39. His father and paternal grandmother appeared on his behalf with his attorney, WPLG reported.
As CrimeOnline reported, Hialeah Police said the boy called 911 shortly after 11:30 p.m. to say he’d just killed his mother. Responding officers found Garcia, stabbed repeatedly, lying next to a crib where her 14-day-old daughter lay. The baby was not harmed physically.
Investigators said Rosa waited for his mom to fall asleep before killing her. Garcia’s husband, the boy’s stepfather, works as a truck driver and was out of town at the time of the attack.
Rosa was initially charged with second degree murder, but a grand jury handed up the first degree murder indictment, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office said.
Rosa was an honors student at iMater Charter Middle/High School and had no previously history of mental health issues. Responding officers said he was calm and apologetic when they arrived.
In 911 audio released last week, WPLG said, Rosa told a dispatcher that he took pictures after he killed his mother and sent them to a friend.
“I took pictures and I told my friend about it,” he said. “Was that bad?”
Later, he told the dispatcher he didn’t know the friend’s real name “because he’s an online friend who I play with a lot.” He said that the photos were still on his phone. “I told him I was sorry and goodbye,” he said. “Goodbye to him.”
He later said, “I don’t know his real name because he’s an online friend who I play with a lot. I didn’t delete the pictures off my phone, but I sent them to him, and I told him that I was sorry and goodbye. Goodbye to him.”
The judge ordered Rosa held without bond. He will be transferred to Metro West Detention Center while a judge considers a defense request to keep him in juvenile custody.
Rosa’s father Jose Rosa, and grandmother brought 26 character reference letters to the judge.
“It’s very unfortunate that this tragedy occurred, but this child is very humble, very respectful and nobody could have imagined that this would ever happen,” Jose Rosa said, adding, “He’s a child. Nobody in the house, in the family, sees him as a grown man.”
The teen is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday and could face life in prison if he is convicted. He cannot be given the death penalty because the US Supreme Court has ruled that unconstitutional for juveniles.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast.
[Featured image: Derek Rosa/Miami-Dade Corrections]