RALEIGH, N.C. — A 9-year-old North Carolina boy is preparing to be punished for the crime of involuntary manslaughter.
WRAL will not use his name because he is a juvenile offender. The boy was found responsible for the death of 3-year-old Malik Beverly. The offender was eight years old when it happened.
Selinda Holley says her family is fighting for her nephew.
"He's a great kid," Holley said.
The toddler was found in a septic tank in the Bertie County community where both children lived. Investigators say Holley's nephew told a classmate that he committed the violent crime.
Relatives expect that the boy will be taken away from his home and family.
The boy's too young to be placed in jail. And the state's five youth development centers don't take children under 10. The options are a mental health facility, foster home or family member.
Wake County Juvenile Justice Chief Dennis Cotten said cases like this are unique.
"It's very rare. I can't think of any felony charge for a child at that age, much less murder or manslaughter," Cotten said.
The family does not want its loved one to become the example.
"I don't think he have a clue what's going on," Holley said. "He may understand but he don't know why."
In the last year, there was no other involuntary manslaughter case state-wide involving a child under 13. The family has written to the governor and their attorney may appeal the case. The family doesn't believe the boy is responsible in any way.