A pre-existing heart condition combined with a "physical assault" killed 16-year-old Delaware high school student Amy Inita Joyner-Francis, according to an autopsy, leading police to press charges. Authorities say Trinity Carr, 16, repeatedly punched Amy in the head and chest in a bathroom at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington on April 21 and has been charged with criminally negligent homicide, per the News Journal. She could face up to eight years in prison if convicted; DOJ officials say they'll attempt to try her as an adult "because of the severity of her offense," per the New York Daily News. Trinity planned the attack 20 hours in advance with Zion Snow and Chakeira Wright, who were in the bathroom but didn't hit the victim, police say. Both face charges of third-degree criminal conspiracy as juveniles.
Police say a video of the attack shows Amy trying to stand up afterward, but she fell back to the floor. She went into cardiac arrest shortly after paramedics found her unresponsive. An autopsy determined she died of "sudden cardiac death due to large atrial septal defect" but that "the cardiac incident would not have occurred if she had not been assaulted," reads a DOJ statement. A cardiologist explains Amy had a hole in the wall separating the left and right chambers of her heart, which would cause oxygenated blood to mix with deoxygenated blood. "You are really sending out very low oxygenated blood to the body, which under stress needs a lot of oxygen," he says. "She was a vulnerable person ... and unfortunately no one knew this." Mayor Dennis Williams says the charges are "just the first step toward providing Amy's family and our community with closure." (Read more assault stories.)