ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A judge has ruled that an eighth-grade girl accused of conspiring with her soldier boyfriend by text message to have her mother killed will remain in adult jail while awaiting trial.
Lehigh County Judge Maria Dantos on Friday denied a defense petition to return 14-year-old Jamie Silvonek to the juvenile facility where she was initially sent after the body of 54-year-old Cheryl Silvonek was discovered last month, according to both the prosecutor and defense attorney.
District Attorney Jim Martin had opposed the petition on behalf of the teenager, who is charged as an adult with homicide and criminal conspiracy. Her boyfriend, Caleb Barnes, 20, who is from El Paso, Texas, but was stationed at Fort Meade, Maryland, is charged with homicide.
Cheryl Silvonek's body was found with stab wounds in a shallow grave about 50 miles northwest of Philadelphia, and her vehicle partially submerged in a pond a few miles from the family home.
Authorities said Barnes and the teenager met in October, when she was 13, but she told him she was 17. The teen's mother found out about their relationship in early March and ordered them to end it. A day later, the teen told Barnes in a text, "I want her gone," police said.
Defense attorney John Waldron, however, maintains that the teenager must have been under "some type of duress or coercion," citing the age difference. He also said she wept and told him how much she missed her mother and that she feared for her life and that of her father.
County officials say Jamie Silvonek in the women's housing unit, away from older inmates.