TYLER HILL, Pa. - A 10-year-old boy has been charged as an adult in the beating death of a 90-year-old woman over the weekend in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Prosecutors in Wayne County said the boy was visiting his grandfather, the caretaker of Helen Novak, in Tyler Hill on Saturday, when county emergency responders got a call reporting her death.
District Attorney Janine Edwards said in a statement that the boy's mother brought him in to the state police barracks at Honesdale the same afternoon and reported that her son had told her that he had gone into the woman's room and she yelled at him.
The boy told his mother that "he got mad, lost his temper and grabbed a cane and put it around Novak's throat," police said. Advised of his rights and interviewed by a trooper, he said he "pulled Novak down on the bed and held the cane on her throat and then punched her numerous times," authorities said.
State police said the boy told them that he went to his grandfather and told him that the woman was "bleeding from her mouth" but denied he had harmed her, but later told him that he had punched the woman and put a cane around her neck.
Police said an autopsy done Monday at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Honesdale indicated blunt force trauma to the victim's neck, and the death was ruled a homicide. Dr. Gary Ross also said the boy's account to police "was consistent with the injuries he observed."
The boy was charged as an adult with criminal homicide and aggravated assault, with the prosecutor's office noting that the crime of homicide "is specifically excluded from the juvenile act" and therefore "a juvenile who commits the crime of homicide is charged as an adult."
The boy was held without bail pending an Oct. 22 preliminary hearing; court documents do not list an attorney representing him and a phone number for his family couldn't be found Tuesday.