COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The attorney for a 13-year-old Columbus boy accused of murdering his own brother says the teen was terrified and "scared to death" during a court appearance Wednesday, when he first faced the charges in a strange and tragic case of alleged fratricide.
ABC 6 / FOX 28 is not naming the 13-year-old due to his age. The brother he stands accused of killing is 15-year-old Isaiah Grayer, also of Columbus.
The boy's attorney, George Leach, is in the tough position of defending a juvenile felony suspect and advocating with the boy's supportive parents — who also raised the victim.
"It's a difficult case to have because you meet mom...and then the next day, you're seeing the son," Leach said Wednesday evening. "Loving brothers, that's how mom described them. She has many pictures of them together, and they love each other."
Leach said the 13-year-old is disturbed, hurt and grieving over the strange case. He has officially been charged with first-degree murder, after detectives say he grabbed a knife during a fight with Grayer and stabbed the elder teen in the chest. The fight happened inside an Airbnb apartment rental on Billy Goat Drive in Northeast Columbus.
Grayer died as paramedics tried to save his life last Friday. Columbus Police say the 13-year-old admitted the crime during an interview a short time later.
Leach says the family, which includes five total children, had just moved from Mississippi and were living in the Airbnb with a maternal grandmother. The children's mother and her male partner were out signing a lease on a permanent home when the killing happened. Leach says a 17-year-old brother witnessed the stabbing; the grandmother was also home at the time but was in another room.
Since Friday, a handful of family members have come for support.
"His family is completely supportive. They had uncles drive up from Georgia and Florida; the whole families in town right now," Leach said.
Through Leach, the family has asked for privacy during this time. A funeral for Grayer is set for Friday; his mother has asked the public to pray for the family.
Leach said because of the 13-year-old's age, even if he is convicted of first-degree murder, the harshest sentence would be what's known as the "juvenile maximum." That sentence could keep the boy in juvenile detention until he is 21-years-old but could not be transferred over to the adult state prison — what's known as a "bind over" case.
"One thing everybody can agree upon: this was a tragic incident," Leach said Wednesday. "And all are sorry that it ever happened."