Teen Suspect in Rocklin Homicide Facing Murder Charge

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PLACER COUNTY -- It's a nightmare few can relate to.

A 13-year-old child killed, a relative behind bars and a family bracing for a long and painful legal battle.

The 14-year-old suspected of killing Ashley Wood in her Rocklin home this week made his first court appearance Thursday.

He's facing a murder charge, according to Placer County Superior Courts.

"It immediately reminded me of the case that I was involved in for almost 3-4 years," said Defense Attorney Mark Reichel.

Reichel represented Isiah Fowler, the 12-year-old who was convicted of killing his little sister in Calaveras County.

Unlike Fowler, the suspect in this case can be tried as an adult.

"In California, if you're 14 or older at the time of the commission of the crime they can take you to adult court," Reichel said.

Reichel says the decision will be made based on the seriousness of the crime and whether the suspect has a criminal past.

It will likely be determined at the teen's next court appearance.

The difference between being tried as an adult and a juvenile is big.

"If you're convicted in adult court you're getting an adult sentence which usually in California means life in prison with the possibility of parole. On the other hand you have the safety of knowing you'll get out by 23 you'll be dealt with in the juvenile system but you'll have one judge, one person who doesn't have to deliberate with others, who will determine your fate," said Reichel.

This case is made even more complicated by the fact that Ashely Wood's father, Jeff Wood is a longtime prosecutor for Placer County.

The Placer County District Attorney's office says given their emotional connection to Wood and his family, the case has been handed over to the state Attorney General's office.