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CNN Today

Michigan Judge to Decide Fate of 13-Year-Old Boy Convicted of Murder

Aired January 13, 2000 - 1:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: With hundreds of protesters outside the courthouse, a Michigan judge is trying to decide whether a 13- year-old boy convicted of murder should receive an adult sentence.

CNN's Ed Garsten watching this for us. He joins us from the Oakland County Courthouse in Pontiac -- Ed.

ED GARSTEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Natalie.

We are very close to hearing what the sentence will be for 13- year-old Nathaniel Abraham. In fact, he's one week shy of his 14th birthday. Right now in the courtroom, the boy's original defense attorney Dan Bagdale is making an impassioned plea to Judge Eugene Moore asking him not to sentence the boy as an adult. He said to the judge: This young man can make it. He visits him once or twice a week and says that he's doing fine, he's making a lot of improvements, and that he feels he can function in society, but also admits that he does need the type of mental health care that all the witnesses that testified today -- five witnesses, in fact -- said that the boy needs.

Earlier, assistant prosecutor Lisa Halushka asked the judge for, as predicted, what's know here in Michigan as the blended sentence where the judge would remand Nathaniel Abraham to a juvenile facility until he's 21, and then decide if he's been rehabilitated enough to be released. Or, the judge would have the option of imposing an adult sentence, and then Nathaniel Abraham would have to serve out a number of years in an adult prison. She said: Yes, he's a boy, yes, he was young, but there's been too much attention paid on him and not enough attention paid on the victim, 18-year-old Ronnie Green, and for that reason, the boy should remain in state or county custody.

Now, outside the Oakland County Courthouse, a demonstration has been going on continuously for about the last three hours or so. Well-known activist Al Sharpton showed up. He is inside the courthouse now. They had planned on surrounding the courthouse, but there's been very heavy snowfall here in Michigan today. It's kind of curtailed the number of people that have showed up.

But they have been chanting in support of Nathaniel Abraham, saying that a boy that young should never be tried as an adult, and that this case also has racial overtones in the fact that Nathaniel Abraham is African American. When the sentencing comes down, of course, we'll bring it to you. Ed Garsten, CNN, reporting live from Pontiac, Michigan -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Thanks, Ed.

And as Ed mentioned, we'll bring you live coverage as that sentence is handed down.

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