CHIPPEWA COUNTY, WI – At a hearing Wednesday, a 14-year-old Wisconsin teenager, identified by prosecutors only by his initials due to his juvenile status, was charged as an adult and held on $1 million bond in connection with with the horrific sexual assault. and murder of 10-year-old Iliana “Lily” Peters on Sunday night.
According to prosecutors, the teenage suspect admitted that he had been planning to rape and kill Peters. “From the beginning” on Sunday night, when he began following her down a path as she walked home from her aunt’s house.
The girl’s body was found near the trail Monday after her family reported her missing the night before, and the suspect was taken into custody Tuesday after police received more than 200 leads in the case, authorities said.
The eighth-grade student, who appeared in court remotely, allegedly admitted to authorities that he physically assaulted Peters, strangled her to death and then sexually assaulted her, according to Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell. at Wednesday’s hearing.
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“Protection of [the] community is also needed in this case given his statements about his intentions and his statements that when he went off the road, he hit the victim in the stomach, knocked her to the ground, essentially strangled her, hit her with a stick, before strangling her to the point of death, before he sexually assaulted her,” Newell said.
Investigators said the boy and Peters knew each other and the suspect was arrested Tuesday at a home on the same block as Peters’ aunt’s home.
Attorneys representing the suspect requested $100,000 cash bail, arguing that he is not a flight risk because he is too young to drive; however, Judge Benjamin Lane deferred prosecutors’ request and set the boy’s bail at $1 million, as well as ordering the suspect have no contact with minors, except family members, if he is released.
The suspect is currently being held in a juvenile detention center. He is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree sexual assault and first-degree sexual assault with a child under the age of 13 resulting in great bodily harm, according to Newell.
Wisconsin murder suspects over the age of 10 can be charged, tried, and sentenced as adults.