An autistic boy who reportedly stabbed his mother to death in their Simpsonville, South Carolina, home in 2015, will be tried as an adult, police confirmed on Tuesday.
FOX Carolina reports that Miguel Cano, 14, allegedly killed his mother, Cristina Zuluaga, 44, in September 2015. According to the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, the boy later confessed, stating that he stabbed his mother numerous times.
During a court hearing for Miguel in 2016, doctors and teachers testified regarding his academic and medical records. While teachers considered him a “strong student,” doctors said that he scored poor on emotional intelligence tests, and was diagnosed with the Autism Spectrum Disorder. Doctors indicated that Miguel may not have been able to handle the sensory overload and stress at home, which is a typical issue with autistic people.
Despite his medical condition, Solicitor Walt Wilkins said it was the severity of the crime that convinced them to try Miguel as an adult. The teen reportedly used a large knife to stab his mother in the torso area multiple times. He left her lifeless body lying in her bedroom. A contractor carrying out repair work in the area noticed blood dripping into a crawl space from above floorboards. Miguel was hiding inside. The contractor gained entrance to the home and found Cristina Zuluaga.
While the contractor was phoning the police, Miguel left. Police later found him walking alone down a road. After interviewing him, Greenville County sheriff Steve Loftis was amazed at the child’s lack or remorse.
“The fact that there was no remorse shown that we could see, it’s just an extremely unusual incident….I don’t have a good grasp of what he was thinking, why he did it and so forth. That would be pure speculation at this point.”
If Miguel had been charged as a juvenile, the maximum penalty he would have faced is juvenile imprisonment until he turns 21. Since he’s being charged as an adult, he faces 30 years to life behind bars, if convicted.
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