CHIPPEWA COUNTY, WI – At a hearing on Wednesday, a 14 year-old Wisconsin teen – identified by prosecutors only by his initials due to his youth status – was charged as an adult and held on $1 million bond in connection with the horrific sexual assault and murder of 10 year-old Iliana “Lily” Peters on Sunday evening.
According to prosecutors, the teen suspect admitted that he’d been planning to rape and kill Peters “from the get-go” on Sunday night, when he began following her down a trail while she was walking home from her aunt’s house.
The child’s body was found nearby the trail on Monday after her family had reported her missing the night before, and the suspect was taken into custody on Tuesday after police received more than 200 tips in the case, officials say.
The eighth-grader – who appeared in court remotely – allegedly admitted to authorities that he physically assaulted Peters, strangled her to death, and then sexually assaulted her, according to Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell at Wednesday’s hearing.
“Protection of [the] community also is necessary in this case given his statements regarding his intentions and his statements regarding that when he did get off the trail, he punched the victim in the stomach, knocked her to the ground, essentially strangled her, hit her with a stick, before strangling her to the point of death — before he then sexually assaulted her,” Newell said.
Investigators said the boy and Peters knew each other, and that the suspect was arrested Tuesday at a home on the same block as Peters’ aunt’s house.
Attorneys representing the suspect requested $100,000 cash bond, and argued that he is not a flight risk because he is too young to drive; however, Judge Benjamin Lane deferred to the prosecutors’ request and set the boy’s bond at $1 million, in addition to ordering the suspect to have no contact with minors except for family members if he is released.
The suspect is currently being held in a juvenile detention facility. He is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree sexual assault and first-degree sexual assault with a child under age 13 resulting in great bodily harm, according to Newell.
Murder suspects in Wisconsin above the age of 10 years old can be charged, tried, and sentenced as an adult.