Callie Fullerton, 8 and Haleigh Fullerton, 17, were at home watching television on July 12th when a car crashed into the house. Both were killed Behind the wheel was Alia Sierra, 17. While the same age as Haleigh, Sierra will be tried as an adult after she crashed her car into a house a 107 mph. She has been charged ten felony counts, including reckless homicide, causing death while operating a motor vehicle with a controlled substance in the blood and criminal recklessness.
Sierra was high on opiates when she crashed her 2007 Honda Accord into the house at 107 mph. She had four other teens in the car, which she called the Beast and was showing how fast it could go.
The mother of Haleigh and Callie (below) was also injured.
87 thoughts on “Indiana Teen To Be Tried As Adult After Crashing Into House At 107 MPH Killing Two Young Girls”
Indiana Teen To Be Tried As Adult After Crashing Into House At 107 MPH Killing Two Young Girls
What is the mens rea component of this “crime”?
Two young lives have already been lost. Does the state of Indiana really need to destroy the life of a third?
This was a horrible and tragic accident that unfortunately involved a young woman who made a series of bad life altering decisions.
Should Alia Sierra be held accountable for her tragic decisions?
Does the state of Indiana need to stack 10 felony charges in a perverse and wholly misguided attempt to serve justice?
Personnongrata – yes, they do need to stack those charges and that young lady needs to know what she will be facing before she takes a plea deal. It is all gamesmanship. It is just the opening serve of a long game.
So sorry for the loss of these two young girls. My heart goes out to their family.
Is she subject to deportation?
Just because her last name is hispanic doesn’t mean that she’s illegal.
The youngest age I saw on the Vietnam Veterans Wall in D.C. was 15. Many, many 16 and 17 year olds. So we can send teens in die in combat, but a 17 y/o who intentionally drives 107 mph, high on drugs, and kills two children is too young to be tried as an adult? Where the worst thing that will happen to her is time in a womens’ prison with educational and job training opportunities? Cry me a river…..
The youngest age I saw on the Vietnam Veterans Wall in D.C. was 15. Many, many 16 and 17 year olds.
Just the names are on the wall, not any other identifying information.
The “Find My Past” site, lists the following American soldiers who died in Indochina prior to the calendar year in which they turned 18.
Paul Raber (1954-70)
Walter Rockenbaugh (1951-67)
Peter Holcomb (1950-66)
James Calvin (1948-65)
Stanley Neal (1946-62)
Five people who enlisted under false pretenses does not constitute ‘many, many’. Per the same database, about 725 people died during the calendar year they turned 18. If the subset I took a look at with more granular biographical information is representative, fewer than 50 had yet to reach their 18th birthday at the time they died.
“Dan Bullock (December 21, 1953 – June 7, 1969) was a United States Marine and the youngest American serviceman killed in action during the Vietnam War, dying at the age of 15.
“Bullock was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina. He lived in North Carolina until he was about 12, when his mother died and he and his younger sister, Gloria, moved to Brooklyn to live with their father and his wife. He had wanted to become a pilot, a police officer, or a U.S. Marine.”
From the article:
Among the five killed was Dan Bullock. His captain, Robert Kingrey, wrote to the Bullock family back on Lee Avenue in Brooklyn, describing how the night defensive position had been attacked around 1 a.m. on June 7.
“Dan immediately realized that the attack was stronger than usual and that the ammunition supply was becoming depleted,” Kingrey recounted. “He rushed to get more ammunition for his unit. He constantly exposed himself to enemy fire in order to keep the company supplied with the ammunition needed to hold off the attack. As the attack pressed on, Dan again went to get more ammunition when he was mortally wounded by a burst of enemy small arms and died instantly at approximately 1:50 a.m.”
Kingrey continued: “Dan was one of the finest Marines I have ever known. He took pride in doing every job well and constantly displayed those qualities of eagerness and self-reliance that gained him the respect he well deserved. Although I realize words can do little to console you, I hope the knowledge that we share your sorrow will, in some measure, alleviate the suffering caused by your great loss.”
He also enlisted under false pretenses. He’s not in the database for some reason. Adding one more person does not make ‘many, many’.
“He also enlisted under false pretenses.”
Not the first time:
Again, from DSS: “Adding one more person does not make ‘many, many’.”
Did I say that it did? (rhetorical) No, I didn’t.
TIN – she may or may not get education in prison. What she needs is a drug program which she may or may not get. It all depends on the prison and what they have available.
I grew up in a state[CT] where you were an adult @ age 16. I worked as a juvenile probation officer in KC, MO where a person is an adult @ age 17. Indeed, there are 10 states where no certification would have been needed, she would have been an adult by statute. Indeed, if this horrible young woman were in the neighboring states of Illinois or Michigan, she would have been an adult.
All of the certifications handled by the juvenile court during my 4 year tenure involved death. This girl deserves to be certified. And, she picked the wrong time to be driving w/ opiates. There’s a war on, you know!
Professor Turley, I don’t understand why you say Indiana has no minimum age for trying juveniles as adults, but the last sentence of the statute you quote says “if the individual was at least sixteen (16) years of age but less than eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the alleged violation.” Does that not indicate a minimum age of 16?
Community service is humbug. Penal labor service to work off restitution obligations (with the defendant ‘compensated’ at market rates) should be applied where larceny, theft of services, vandalism, or fraud is the verdict. This wasn’t a property crime though, so it would not apply.
All criminal defendants should be tried in a court of assize according to the same procedures. It’s a fact finding forum. If the fact-finding procedures are reliable the age of the defendant makes no difference. The age does make a difference in determining levels of intent, but ambiguity with regard to intent is a feature of many cases with adult defendants.
What should differ is not the procedure applied to reach a conclusion, but the manner in which the case is disposed. Defendants below the age of criminal responsibility (say, 9) should after the verdict is entered be remanded to the family court for final disposition, which would have close to plenary discretion over custody arrangements. Defendants between the ages of 9 and 18 should be given a sentence derived from that stated in the penal code for ordinary defendants, but with a standard dispensation applied, the dispensation calculated thus: s x (a-9) / 17, where ‘s’ is the standard sentence and ‘a’ is the age of the defendant at the time of the crime (to the 2d decimal place). The case would then be remanded to the family court to determine who would be the custodians of the defendant for the time period specified. As for young adult defendants (ages 18 to 25), that same formula would be applied, but the custodian would be the state prison system or the county jail.
Ideally, state prison systems would be strictly segregated by age, and any institution with multiple age strata would have dedicated buildings and yards for each stratum with no cross-traffic possible. The strata might be: 9-11, 11-14, 14-17, 17-21, 21-25, 25-40, 40-63, 63+ . Ideally also, prisons would have small individual cells for each prisoner, convicts would be in their cells most of the time and not able to socialize, there would be no amenities you could not have found in a prison in 1922, and the prisoners would be fed Bulgar wheat and a few other staples. Prison sentences would seldom be longer than two years and parole determinations would be made on the basis of respect for prison rules. The determination would be made by juries composed of randomly selected prison employees examining dossiers with identifying information removed.
Despite my liberal leanings, this girl needs to be tried like an adult, and punished like one. Her offense is not like throwing spitballs in study hall.
I am wondering how she got it up to 107 to begin with. When I was a kid, my family car would do 143 on the flat, but they don’t make real muscle cars anymore.
I can see trying her as an adult. The DA would be hung if s/he tried her as a juvie.
She told her friends she knew her car would go really fast and was demonstrating that, so she’d obviously been speeding before. Clearly her friends showed no more common sense than she did, as they got into the vehicle with her being stoned. My question is, where the hell are her parents? I don’t believe for a minute they were oblivious to the girl’s dysfunctional behavior. My kids wouldn’t have been allowed to get their DLs if they couldn’t show adequate responsibility in other aspects of their lives. If Sierra is tried as an adult, would the parents of the deceased lose standing in court to sue the parents for damages?
Cape Cod Skeptic – there was stuff I didn’t tell my mother until I was in my 40s. My friends and I drove fast all the time. However, Montana did not have a day time speed limit at the time. 🙂
As do we all, Paul. You lived in driver’s paradise–long stretches of linear road and low pop density. Parts of north TX, where I spent some years growing up, were similar. Cannot do that in most of MA or even around the towns or rural parts of AR I used to roam around. Surface roads and curves are a bad mix for teenage driving antics. The big story here all last winter was the deaths of two beloved HS senior athletes who got into a drag race w/another car on a 2-lane road after evening hockey practice last December. The car hit black ice and went airborne, then wedged sideways between two trees. Passenger didn’t even have a DL; and he was younger brother of a classmate of my son. Most of the Cape showed up for the wake. These stories just repeat themselves.
Cape Cod Skeptic – I never lost a classmate during school or Vietnam. Sorry about the two kids. That is rough for everybody. I haven’t driven in snow for years and have probably forgotten how. Black ice is always a horrible problem
Bam bam has been demonstrating the emotional maturity of a 13 year old. Too bad she isn’t institutionalized.
Get off the computers in the day room, Benson. Lights out. The other residents, in the asylum, want to watch porn.
You just go ahead. There is lots of computer power.
There certainly is! My crazy uncle bought me a refurbished laptop today as a belated birthday gift. I swear, he only paid $125 for it, and I am super impressed. I needed a spare until I can take my “Squeeky” laptop in to get the power jack fixed. The “new” one is 8 years old, but it has 4 gig of ram, Win7 Professional, and a lighted keyboard! Dvd player, and all kinds of slots and holes. 360 gig hard drive, and it is built like a tank!
I doubt I will ever again buy a new computer. I went on ebay and there are some crazy low prices on older computers. Which, if all you do is surf the net, download music and watch Rescue Raccoon videos, why does it matter if it has a terrorbite or something? Heck, I bought one of those brand new back up hard drives for about $55.00 from Walmart.
This is like the Golden Age of computers and guitars!
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet…
That Dudn’t Make Any Sense!
David B. Benson vs. bam bam
1. “bam bam” is feminine?
2. Why is “…,in the asylum,…,” which directly describes residents, set off by commas?
3. “There IS lots…”
If she’s old enough to take drugs and drive like a maniac, she should be tried and sentenced as an adult. If more young people were treated as adukts by the courts there might be fewer such incidents. Many do crazy things because they think their youth will get them off the hook. If they can do the crime, they can do the time. He recklessness killed two innocent girls sitting in their living room. I have no sympathy for the driver.
If it’s decided that young brains are not finished maturing, then young people should not be allowed to drive. Some shouldn’t be allowed out of the house without a chaperone. But if they are to be independent and allowed to get driver’s licenses they need to be tried as adults. Immature brains should not be an excuse. She’ll be tried for manslaughter and probably won’t have to serve more than 10 years. Maybe 10 years behind bars will help her brain to mature. Nothing else has.
Yes, some young people should not have driver’s licenses.
How do you know which ones should be deprived of their licenses? Why, the ones who wipe out an entire family, that’s who needs to have their licenses yanked. Boy, we are sure going to show them! You kill two siblings, watching cartoons, and you lose your driver’s license! The perfect test to determine which teenagers can get behind the wheel, from the all-knowing Karnac.
Not that I expect a response, but I’m disappointed that a law professor is ignoring a growing amount of research on juvenile brain development here in supporting the decision to try her as an adult.
He’s ignoring it because she’s white. If this piece of garbage were black, I suspect that every conceivable excuse would be made and ginned up to give her another chance to become the productive member of society that we all know she could be. . .we would be chastised that she was poor, uneducated, came from a broken home, in the ghetto, where every relative and neighbor raped her. . .yeah. . .hear anyone is crying that now?
Piece of garbage? Unbelievable.
This piece of sh@t.
With the usual shizzy exercises of discretion around the edges, the judicial and penal system does not practice affirmative action. You really do not get mulligans for being black.
“ginned up.” RACIST!!!!
So frigging what??? Frankly, I would not care if she was retarded. If you do something like that at age 17, then off to prison with you, or the noose.
Your kind of thinking is one of the things which has destroyed our society. Excuse making for obviously bad behavior. If you are that concerned about brain development, then maybe we should not let 18-24 years olds vote, or exercise their Free Speech rights, because how can someone whose brain has not developed have the mental capacity to vote for Bernie, or Hillary? Or, go around tearing down statues. Or having illegitimate babies? And my goodness, but why should they drink booze or smoke pot???
We should lock up anybody selling either to them, or any other drug! And how about the trannie stuff? How can we let them decide what gender they think they are, or make decisions to be homos???
There is certainly a reason why we don’t allow 17 year olds to vote or drink and it has to do with their decision making capacity and brain development. The rest of your post is a nonsensical rant.
But we should allow them to drive a giant killing machine?
Youths at 17 are seldom self-supporting. They may produce ba***** children, but they very seldom construct well-ordered domestic lives. (They sometimes did in 1955, but that was awhile ago). For these reasons, it’s nonsensical to pretend they should be casting ballots. In truth, the only people under the age of 25 who should be voting are those whose payroll tax payments indicate they are self-supporting.
A dear friend of my father (born in 1931, died in 2005) had this comment back in 1982 about the novel practice of business schools of teaching ethics courses, something he thought a risible waste of time “you know it when you’re 10, or you don’t know it”. That generation was raised at a time when self-expression was not highly valued. They lived more orderly and dignified lives.
[memo to darren smith: the spam filter stinks]
This research contradicts your rant, not that you’ll read it: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/courts/sd-me-juvenile-crime-20170803-story.html
Why would you assume that I would not read it??? I did, and I am still unconvinced. Many court systems are trying to do things to keep people out of jail, from Drug Court to “Suspended Prosecution” if one goes a year without reoffending.
Does that mean that crime is down, and if it is down, is it because of the interventions? Personally, I do not think that jail or prison makes one a better person. Quite the opposite. But, some people still need to be locked up, or executed.
This person killed two people, doing something that she knew was wrong. Her brain was not that underdeveloped. Her socialization was probably underdeveloped. But, I have no sympathy for her. Two kids are dead. Screw her.
It doesn’t indicate anything of note. It would be an argument for applying dispensations in the penalties exacted of juvenile offenders. It is not an argument for treating criminal acts by juveniles as if they were anything other than criminal acts.
From the Harvard research: “With its ability to examine the workings of the teenage brain, neuroscience is improving our understanding of adolescents, and potentially, juvenile offenders. Through their window into the brain, neuroscientists understand, for example, that adolescents mature at markedly varied rates. The presumed trajectory of brain development, demonstrated in existing “bright line” age cut offs for voting, military service, and drinking, however, is not reflective of this variability in brain maturity. Similarly, neuroimaging research by CLBB faculty (Somerville, 2010) clarifies that it is teenagers’ heightened vulnerability to reward that drives risky behavior, contrary to longstanding beliefs that teenagers are unable to gauge risks. They can often recognize risks, but incomplete development of brain mechanisms related to modulation of impulsive behavior reduces their tendency to heed those risks.”
The researchers are making fools of themselves: you have bright lines written into law to avoid dubious or costly exercises in discretion. The standard is arbitrary because an arbitrary standard is better than a non-arbitrary one.
Also, you have these standards written into law consequent to normative judgments. Sorry, there’s no reason to believe the normative judgments of neuroscientists are better than anyone else’s.
For those interested in educating yourself, here’s research out of Harvard on brain development and its implications for juvenile justice: http://clbb.mgh.harvard.edu/juvenilejustice/
It only has “implications” if you already believe that there should be some sort of slack cut for one’s brain not being “developed”, whatever that means. Sheeesh, people used to get married and raise families at age 15, which was smart since the average life span might only be 35-45 years.
Because something was expected of them, and there wasn’t a societal safety net, the kids grew up quickly. But kids were not cut away from their parents and files to become a target group for advertisers, and people trying to sell various kinds of crap to them. IOW, kids were consumerized. They were basically just little adults from about 12 or 13 on.
It only has “implications” if you already believe that there should be some sort of slack cut for one’s brain not being “developed”, whatever that means.
Bingo. That aside, you can cut the slack by modifying penalties, something courts routinely do for first-offenders Treating crimes as if they were child custody matters is foolish.
people used to get married and raise families at age 15, which was smart since the average life span might only be 35-45 years.
Not in occidental societies they didn’t, at least with any degree of regularity. See the work of Angus Maddison on this subject. I’ve seen some reconstructed demographic statistics for 18th c. Massachusetts, to take one example. The median age at 1st marriage was 20 for women and 28 for men.
And you’re confounding life expectancy at birth with life expectancy at various selected ages. You have life expectancies of 35 years or 45 years because of high rates of infant and early-childhood mortality. People who lived to the typical age of marriage could commonly look forward to living to late middle age or old age.
The other interesting thing is the linkage between a drop in juvenile crime and better approaches: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/courts/sd-me-juvenile-crime-20170803-story.html
I grew up in Indiana and have nothing positive to say about this state. Basically it’s a primitive, redneck, Republican, backwards, Bible thumping kind of state. This child should be tried as a juvenile, no matter how reckless her actions. This is about revenge, nothing else: a tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye. Any jackass knows that the human brain is not fully mature until the mid and late 20’s and this includes the executive function of the brain. This adolescent child was essentially a product of her biology to a certain extent. Indiana is a ruthless place.
Make a mistake as a juvenile and they send up the creek without a paddle, instead of investing in substance abuse rehab or long term mental health services.
Note: VP Mike Pence is from Indiana! Heaven forbid if anything happens to Trump and Pence takes over as POTUS. He’ll be WORSE than Trump if that’s even possible!
As for your last sentence, yes, that is possible. The Donald is merely a stumblebum.
Poor, poor child. Why, it’s practically child abuse to expect her to refrain from taking drugs and killing two innocent children! This should only happen to you and yours. You will only comprehend the true gravity and severity of this act after you have lost two of your own children, watching television, in the alleged safety of their own home, and killed by some lowlife piece of scum. Maybe, just maybe, you would be singing a different tune if you were personally impacted by this kind of a horrific tragedy. Given your rant about Pence, I suspect not.
And you won’t comprehend it at age 17, which is why it is ludicrous to try her as an adult.
Trust me. ..
she’d comprehend that she was going to die, just as her victims died, without the benefit of mercy, as the noose was being slipped around her neck. Even at 17, she would get that.
I’d rather trust the research which I posted links to above.
She passed her driving test,
She can comprehend a lot.
But it was more important for her to show off for her 3 friends sitting in the car with her.
You’ll comprehend it just fine. That aside, to try someone is a fact-finding procedure. A valid process of finding facts is a valid process. It’s not rendered invalid because the subject is young.
Any jackass knows that the human brain is not fully mature until the mid and late 20’s and this includes the executive function of the brain.
Boy, isn’t that the truth. Everything after your first sentence suggests you didn’t actually grow up. Millions of children manage to escape childhood without committing one of the crimes that would get them tried as an adult. Using your argument, statistically, there should be far more crimes committed by those immature brains than actually occur. What makes those youngsters defy the odds? How about free will? A conscience? Knowing right from wrong? Humility? Fear of going to prison as an adult? You go ahead and make excuses for criminal behavior; just leave the decisions of law and politics to the adults.
I grew up in Indiana and have nothing positive to say about this state. Basically it’s a primitive, redneck, Republican, backwards, Bible thumping kind of state.
Someone once said the vanguard of the Democratic Party (including most journalists) was made up of people who fancied they were better than the places where they grew up.
The quality of life in Indiana is indubitably improved by your absence from the place.
The “primitive, backward” State of Indiana has a GDP per capita which exceeds that of all occidental countries abroad bar the Luxembourg, Ireland, Switzerland, Norway, and the Netherlands. The turnover of business and industry in greater Indianapolis would render it the 7th ranking city in Germany, the 5th ranking in Britain; the 4th ranking city in Australia, Canada, France, and Italy; the 3d ranking in the Netherlands, Spain, and Russia; the 2d ranking in Belgium, Austria, Sweden, and Israel; and the top-ranking city in just about every other occidental country.
Imagine. . .a family lost the lives of two children. . .TWO. .
SIMULTANEOUSLY. . .and all because this pathetic irresponsible and reprehensible cretin, high on drugs and driving 107 miles per hour, could not manage to keep from loading up on drugs and getting behind the wheel of a moving weapon. Forget the trial. Hang her, now.
I don’t think we know yet if she was dwi…and 107 is super fast…something was wrong…at that speed….
Such sentiments are why we follow common law.
Who are you to hang her?
Go read the Book of Matthew.
I’d be surprised if you could read, at all.
Well, you certainly don’t.
Try it for a change instead of simply emoting.
Yes, let’s all read Matthew and sing kumbayah. The vouce of reason. Hysterical. Your comments are consistently bizarre, out of touch and ludicrous. If you ever agreed with me, I would be terrified. I suspect that inhaling all of that methane that exude, on a constant basis, has warped your mind.
Why wouldn’t she be tried as adult? She was doing adult stuff….my question is what was she driving? Because so many cars can be hacked…like navy ships.
Go back and read the article. It tells the year, make and model of her vehicle.
Can they be hacked?
Because research on brain development increasingly suggests that a 17 year old is not an adult. The very fact that she did something incredibly stupid doesn’t make her more of an adult.
Strong reason to believe that adulthood begins at age 24.
So, what’s your excuse??
No, ‘adulthood’ does not begin ‘at age 24’, however much people who spent years whiling away in graduate school wish that were the case.
Some young people should not have driver’s licenses.
So true and mine doesn’t because “drifting” is their new fad. He can’t even ride with young ppl!
If convicted, this gal needs to take an immediate dirt nap.
You are you to prescribe further loss of life?
Who are you …
The State of Indiana is ordinarily acting within its discretion to execute the perpetrators of double-murders. It will not in this case because this was done with recklessness rather than with premeditation, depraved indifference to life, or in the course of some other violent felony.
God help me, I’m beginning to agree with you. It must’ve been the eclipse. . .the world is coming to an end.
Yes, but not because of the eclipse. Rather excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
I strongly suspect that there is excess methane in your vicinity.
Comments are closed.