Psychologist: Boy likely didn't understand rights

Findings bolster defense motion to suppress statements boy made to police

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A psychologist asked by the state attorney's office to do a psychological evaluation of 13-year-old murder suspect Cristian Fernandez found the boy "likely did not have sufficient understanding of his Miranda rights at the time of both police interrogations ... and did not have sufficient appreciation for the potential implications of his waiving his Miranda rights at the time of these police interrogations," according to the documents released Wednesday.

Dr. William Meadows found Fernandez to have the classic signs of depressive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to the documents.

He also found Fernandez to have an IQ of 99, which is average, even though he was a straight-A student at Kernan Middle School at the time of the death of his 2-year-old half brother.

Fernandez had previously been examined by two psychologists chosen by the defense. All three came to the same conclusions.

The findings of the boy not understanding his Miranda rights bolsters the defense motion to suppress all statements Fernandez made to police in his murder and sexual assault cases.

A motions hearing that could last three days is set to begin Thursday morning.

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