By Alexis Sykes

Chanel Williams, a 35 year old adult, was recently arrested for having a romantic relationship with a 15 year old child.  The 15 year old child was shot by 19 year old, Diante Stokes, who was also having a relationship with Williams.  Williams will be prosecuted for her predatory relationship with the 15 year old victim.  19 year old Stokes will face his own individual charges for the shooting.  Although the relationship between Williams and Stokes may seem predatory on its face, it is technically a legal relationship and Stokes is an adult who will be held responsible for his own decisions.

Chanel Williams 15 year-old shooting incident

However, Stokes will have mitigating factors to present based on this situation, where there may be evidence of manipulation from an older offender, such as Williams.  Scientific studies show that the brains of young adults do not fully develop until the early or mid-20s so they are more likely to make impulsive decisions, which can be deadly with easy access to firearms.  Youth is a mitigating factor under Florida law.  Since he was also under age 20 at the time of the offense, Stokes will qualify as a youthful offender under Florida law where he could potentially face a lower sentence from prosecutors.

Williams on the other hand, will face stiffer penalties as an adult whose actions precipitated this situation.  While society may have some biases that grant leniency to female offenders, the law does not.  Williams will need aggressive representation to avoid spending decades in prison.  She will have to register as a sex offender if convicted.

If you or a family member find yourself charged with a crime, do not hesitate to contact the experienced lawyers of  The Smith and Eulo law firm at 352-WIN-4YOU. for your FREE consultation.