LAKE WORTH BEACH - Palm Beach County prosecutors are charging a 14-year-old boy as an adult in the June fatal stabbing of a 19-year-old man at a child's birthday party in Lake Worth Beach.
The teen is facing a second-degree murder charge in the June 18 homicide. The Palm Beach Post is not identifying him because he is a juvenile. He is the youngest person to face a murder charge in Palm Beach County this year, according to a Palm Beach Post online database.
During a hearing Tuesday at the county jail, Circuit Judge Kirk Volker ordered him to be held without bail and to have no contact either with the victim's family or witnesses. The attorney named in court documents as representing the 14-year-old was not immediately available for comment.
Investigators did not disclose the 19-year-old man's name, saying his family invoked its right to privacy under a 2018 state constitutional amendment modeled after California's Marsy's Law. They also withheld the address where the stabbing took place.
For subscribers: 'A hero made by the size of his heart': Friends, family hail Justin Todd on day killer is sentenced
More Lake Worth news: Amid soaring rents, Lake Worth Beach considers declaring a housing state of emergency
Look who's back: 'The Iceman is back at it': Vanilla Ice to turn Lake Worth Beach historic building into brewery
Click here to view the homicides tracker in a larger window »
Party crashers at 5-year-old's birthday take part in fight
According to deputies, the 14-year-old and his parents showed up as uninvited guests to a 5-year-old child's birthday party.
A witness told Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies that a man argued with a woman over a romantic relationship she was involved in and struck her with a bottle. The 19-year-old was trying to break up that fight when another man, the 14-year-old's father, hit him the back of the head, according to the arrest report.
The 19-year-old reportedly attempted to defend himself, but his brother pulled him back. The 14-year-old, standing face to face with the 19-year-old, then took out a knife and stabbed him multiple times, the report said. A witness told investigators five people began kicking the older teen while he was on the ground.
An ambulance crew took the 19-year-old to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, where he died the following morning.
The dead man's relatives called PBSO on June 21 to report that the 14-year-old and his family were fleeing the area. Palm Beach County deputies tried to contact the family at their home, but learned the family had already left and was traveling north on Interstate 95, according to the arrest report.
As law-enforcement agencies along northbound I-95 began searching for the family's vehicle, one spotted it in Brevard County and sheriff's deputies there pulled it over, court documents said.
Palm Beach County has seen young teens charged with murder before
The Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office in the past has charged people age 14 and younger as adults in murder cases.
The best-known example was Nathaniel Brazill, who was 13 when he shot and killed Barry Grunow, a teacher at Lake Worth Middle School in May 2000. A jury convicted Brazill of second-degree murder.
In 2015, PBSO arrested Anthony Clark, then 14, on two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of two men in suburban Boynton Beach. The state charged Clark as an adult, and he later pleaded guilty and received a 60-year prison sentence.
In August 2021, a then 14-year-old boy was charged with first-degree murder after authorities alleged that he shot and killed another juvenile during a fight in Greenacres.
Julius Whigham II is a criminal justice and public safety reporter for The Palm Beach Post. You can reach him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @JuliusWhigham. Help support our work: Subscribe today.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Prosecutors charge 14-year-old with murder after fatal stabbing at party