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Monday 1 May 2017

Two teens facing trial over Phoebe bully claims

Brendan Farrelly

TWO American teenagers are to face separate trials next year following the death of 15-year-old Irish teenager Phoebe Prince, who hung herself in January.

A pre-trial hearing in Northampton, Massachusetts, lasted only three minutes yesterday.

Attorney Michael Jennings said he would ask a judge to dismiss the charges against 17-year-old Kayla Narey.

An attorney for Sean Mulveyhill, another teenager charged in the case, said he was considering filing a similar motion.

Phoebe hanged herself in January after what prosecutors called a "relentless" campaign of bullying by other students.

She apparently took her own life after months of harassment at school and through texts and internet messages.

The two appeared briefly in Hampshire Superior Court, both charged in connection with events before the suicide of South Hadley High School pupil Phoebe, who had just recently relocated to the US from Co Clare.

Four other teenagers also face charges, and all six have pleaded not guilty.

Three of the others -- Ashley Longe, Sharon Chanon Velazquez and Flannery Mullins -- were 16 when they were arrested, and their cases are being handled in the Juvenile Court. They are scheduled to appear next Thursday.

Sean Mulveyhill and another boy, 19-year-old Austin Renaud, were accused of having sexual contact with the underage girl.

They have been charged with statutory rape. Prosecutors have said Kayla Narey and the three girls charged were angry about Phoebe's relationships with the boys.

Timeline

Kayla is charged with criminal harassment and civil rights violations resulting in bodily injury.

Her attorney said that she never hurt Phoebe, never threatened physical harm nor did anything to cause Phoebe to hurt herself -- all of which would be elements of proving the civil rights violation charge.

"Actually, she never said anything to Phoebe," he said.

Under a tentative timeline set yesterday, Kayla's case could go to trial in the first few months of 2011, with Sean Mulveyhill's to follow in mid-spring.

Mr Renaud is set to appear on October 4 in Hampshire Superior Court for a similar scheduling hearing.

Irish Independent

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