Teen Charged With First-Degree Murder In Killing Of Classmate In Miami School

10:17 AM, Feb 4, 2004   |    comments
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By CORALIE CARLSON Associated Press Writer PALMETTO BAY, Fla. (AP) -- A 14-year-old boy was charged with murder in the slaying of a classmate, a musician and baseball player, who was found bleeding to death in a middle school bathroom. The two boys "knew each other very well," said Chief Pete Cuccaro of the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department. He refused to elaborate on their relationship. Jaime Rodrigo Gough, 14, was found early Tuesday at Southwood Middle School, a magnet school specializing in visual and performing arts, authorities said. Police would not comment on the boy's wounds. The Miami Herald said his throat apparently was cut. The slaying is the second inside a school this week. A 17-year-old boy was shot in a Washington, D.C., high school hallway Monday. In the Florida shooting, Michael Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder late Tuesday, police said. There was no immediate word on a court appearance. "We have sufficient information ... to charge him with first-degree murder, which would indicate premeditation," said Miami-Dade police spokesman Juan DelCastillo. Juveniles charged with first-degree murder in Florida are charged as adults. Miami-Dade Police Director Carlos Alvarez said authorities found the murder weapon. The school did not have a history of violence, Miami-Dade School spokesman Mayco Villafana said. Antonio Gough, who identified himself as the victim's uncle, said school officials told the family that Jaime had been stabbed. Gough said his nephew was a good student who played baseball, the violin and flute and was not a troublemaker. "The kids have to know what happened to him," Gough said. "I still can't believe this can happen." Larishea Bivens, an eighth grader who said she had known Jaime for five years, said he was a shy boy who was often targeted by bullies. "He was nice, smart, but they used to pick on him a lot," said Bivens, 14. Students were locked in their classrooms with their teachers as a precaution for most of the day Tuesday. "We were just keeping ourselves occupied, so we wouldn't be so scared," said Shanice Simmonds, an 11-year-old sixth grader. Students were not told about what was happening even as news vans gathered outside the school, said eighth-grader Paul Thompson, 14. "We found out what was going on ... through text messages and phone calls," he said. More than 1,500 students attend Southwood. Palmetto Bay is one of Miami-Dade County's wealthiest cities. In the Washington case, Thomas J. Boykin, 18, surrendered to police Tuesday in the shooting of James Richardson, a Ballou High School student who died after being shot several times in the chest. Boykin was scheduled to be arraigned later Wednesday. (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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