The disturbance prompted Assistant Principal Dan Durham to alert authorities. Soon after, both Principal Ron Pritchard and Kiera’s peers went on record to say that Wilmot made a mistake and did not intend to harm anyone. According to Pritchard, “She has never been in trouble before. Ever.”
Wilmot’s experiment DID NOT hurt anyone nor did it damage school property.
In order to gain further insight in to Glotfelty’s seemingly unequal treatment of both Richardson’s and Wilmot’s cases, NewsOne reached out to the attorney’s office for comment. Her spokesman, Chief Assistant State Attorney Brian Haas, responded, via phone, with the following:
“Our office has not made any filing decisions on that case yet, so there have not been any charges brought yet in that case, it’s still under review.
“She’s not been charged.
“Just because someone, just because there’s a police report done on someone, that doesn’t mean that they are charged officially in court of any crime.
“There’s a different standard between what is done in the police report and what will be done in court.”
Even though NewsOne made it clear that we fully understand that there is a difference between what charges are brought in the police report and what official charges are actually brought in court, Haas would not answer our questions as to why Glotfelty’s initial determination was to drop Richardson’s charges because that instance was deemed a “tragic accident” yet she determined that Kiera should be charged with what amounts to a felony.
When NewsOne asked if Haas was discounting the validity of the police report, which specifically states that Glotfelty advised that the aforementioned charges be brought against Kiera, he conceded that he was not discounting it and that he had no further comment, ending with, “This case has not been determined to be prosecuted at this point. It’s under review in our office. There hasn’t been not any adult charges in adult court readied. It’s being reviewed by our juvenile division and we hope to have a decision very soon on the resolution of this case.
Unsatisfied, NewsOne asked Managing Attorney of Guster Law Firm Eric L. Welch Guster to provide his professional insight on the issue:
“From the information presented, I do not see how the District Attorney can justify the charge against Kiera when compared to the case of the 13 year old who shot his brother with a BB gun,” Attorney Guster said. “Looking at the case with the BB gun death, the District Attorney’s office stated, ‘It is our opinion that this case can only be seen as a tragic accident.”
“Mind you, he was playing with a gun that shoots projectiles. The same seems true for Kiera and her science experiment. That experiment was an accident.
“The 13-year-old brother killed someone, who happened to be his brother. Kiera did not kill nor harm anyone when she was experimenting with her project. Although she should not have mixed the chemicals, it was an accident WITHOUT TRAGEDY and she is being charged with felonies.”
When asked how these charges will affect Kiera’s life, Attorney Guster said:
“As a criminal defense lawyer, I have seen many cases where Black children have been arrested in the same situation where White children would not be arrested and have their parents called to pick them up and take them home. This incident is very similar.
“At the most severe point, Kiera could have been made to go to detention if she did something wrong but definitely not arrested for a science experiment.
“However, she was arrested and charged with adult felonies, which means the arrest will follow her for the remainder of her life.
“Even if the case is dismissed, background checks will still see the arrest, which could prevent this stellar student from attending the college of her choice, living in the apartment complex that she chooses, or getting the job she is qualified for.”
According to Haas, they are still determining whether to go forward in Kiera’s case or drop the charges as they did in the Richardson case. If you are moved by Kiera’s case and would like to put pressure on the Assistant State attorney’s office to do the right thing, send Glotfelty’s office a message here, call (863) 534-4800, or send her a letter at 255 N Broadway Ave. Bartow, FL 33830.