CALAVERAS COUNTY -- (UPDATE: February 22, 2018) The appellate court has reversed the conviction of Isiah Fowler.
Calaveras County Judge Thomas Smith sentenced 15-year-old Isiah Fowler to 15 years behind bars, plus an additional year for the use of a weapon. He will be credited for 908 days served and will be eligible for early release at the age of 22.
The teenager was found guilty last month of stabbing his 8-year-old sister Leila in their Valley Springs home in 2013. He was just 12 at the time.
Defense attorney Mark Reichel addressed the judge for Isiah during the hearing.
He said the teen is excelling in school programs offered in juvenile hall and is on track to graduate by 16. Reichel pleaded with the court for mercy on behalf of the Fowlers.
He argued it's unconstitutional for the actions of a 12-year-old to be tried on the same level as an adult.
It took just 30 minutes for Judge Smith to make his decision. Reichel said the sentence is cruel and unusual punishment.
"Gross miscarriage of justice it should cause revolt among all of us," he said.
The prosecution says this is one of the most challenging cases any district attorney's office has seen in California because of the brutality of the crime and the relationship between the suspect and victim.
Challenges aside, attorney Barbara Yook said she is happy with the outcome.
"Our goal since April 27, 2013, was to seek justice for Leila, and today we accomplished that goal," she said.
The teen's family says the sentence is what they expected, but it's still hard to deal with.
"I don't think we've absorbed even a fraction of what's going on in our lives right now," said Isiah's step-mom, Krystal Fowler.
Isiah has claimed all along that an intruder broke into their home in April 2013 and attacked his sister. His defense attorneys filed an appeal Wednesday.
The teen will be transferred from El Dorado County Juvenile Hall to O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton.