Autopsy reports showed that Amy Joyner-Francis, 16, died of sudden cardiac death brought on by physical and emotional stress from the April 2016 brawl in a Howard High School of Technology bathroom. The incident was caught on camera via cellphone video, and the assailant was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide for her participation in the fight. Two other teens were charged with misdemeanor conspiracy.
Defense attorneys attempted to argue that Joyner-Francis’ death was unpredictable, as her rare heart condition, Eisenmenger syndrome, had gone undetected by doctors. Therefore, there was no way of knowing that death was a risk. They also insisted that the girl willingly engaged in the fight against “mutual combatants.” Prosecutors, however, maintained that Joyner-Francis did not want to participate in the altercation and would not have passed away had the other girls abstained from violence.
“Distress, the unexpected nature of the attack, the brute ferocity of it raining upon her, all led to Amy’s death,” deputy attorney general Sean Lugg said before adding that the assailant displayed “a level of barbarism that reasonably would result in the outcome.”
Prosecutors added that the fight stemmed from an online group chat about a boy. A Snapchat video shared by one of the defendants showed Joyner-Francis attempting to diffuse the tense situation in the bathroom, with a caption explaining that the teen convicted of homicide was “bouta fight her.”
It was ruled last year that the assailant would be charged as a juvenile, sparing her the possibility of going to prison for up to eight years. Being declared a delinquent instead, she would subject to supervision until she turns 19.