Cristian Fernandez, 19, to be released years after killing toddler brother

Seven years after Cristian Fernandez pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of his 2-year-old brother, he is now required to be released.

Fernandez was only 12 when he killed his toddler brother. The now 19-year-old is set to begin serving up to eight years of probation.

Fernandez was treated as a juvenile by the courts. His legal team included now State Attorney Melissa Nelson who took part in the negotiations to get Fernandez a plea deal that allowed him to serve his time in a juvenile facility.

The conditions of his probation include that he maintain a residence and have a job. A recent motion granted by a judge has temporarily suspended some of Fernandez’s probation conditions.

It is unclear according to the documents which ones are on hold.

The motion filed by Fernandez attorney Hank Coxe says, “Circumstances have developed in the past several months which render application of the conditions of probation both general and specific other than specified herein, unrealistic and problematic.”

The Department of Juvenile Justice has not given us any information about Fernandez's progress during confinement.

Action News Jax law and safety expert Dale Carson says, as tragic as this case is, the legal players involved were left with limited options as to what is best for the then youngest killer in Jacksonville.

“He was abused when he was younger, and in turn abused others, and you can’t simply go back, even if you incarcerate someone for seven years like in this case, you can’t fix that,” Carson said.

Next month, attorneys  will be back in court to discuss how to move forward with Fernandez's probation conditions.

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