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DA: Murder case of Braselton mother 'resolved' in juvenile court

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Officials have confirmed that the Braselton teenager accused of fatally shooting her mother in the head earlier this year had her case "resolved" in juvenile court last week, but attorneys on both sides stopped short of revealing what exactly that meant.

First Sgt. Karen Moore, an Army recruiter based in Athens, was found dead in her Braselton home on April 7, shot in the back of the head with a 9mm handgun. Though the original thought was suicide, Braselton police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation quickly zeroed in on Moore's 15-year-old daughter.

At a probable cause hearing in April, authorities said the teenager confessed to the crime but told several different versions of the events leading to her mother's death.

That hearing was in Gwinnett County Superior Court -- leading some to believe the girl would be tried as an adult -- but the case was resolved Wednesday morning in juvenile court, District Attorney Danny Porter confirmed Friday. Because of tight privacy rules guarding the juvenile justice system, further details were hard to come by.

"Because the case was in (juvenile court)," Porter said in an email to the Daily Post, "we can't discuss the specifics other than to say that this was a final resolution and that there will be no further hearings on the matter."

Lawrenceville attorney Lucas Harsh represented the girl during the case. He, too, was mum on specific details.

"I can't comment on the specifics of this case, but when committed by a juvenile, a serious case like murder is typically handled in Superior Court," Harsh said. "The district attorney's office may elect to send the case to juvenile court."

"The juvenile justice system is more about rehabilitation," Harsh continued, "so when deciding whether to transfer a case to the juvenile justice system, the district attorney's office must determine whether a child can be rehabilitated."

In general, the maximum sentence in juvenile court is five years, Harsh said.

According to the April testimony of Braselton Assistant Police Chief Lou Solis, the 15-year-old girl told officials at least three different versions of what happened that night; those included that her mother had been teaching her to use the handgun when it misfired, an ongoing feud about the girl's boyfriend and that there was "no motivation" behind the alleged murder.

During the 15 or so hours between her mother's death and the arrival of police, the girl reportedly told investigators that she picked up her boyfriend, 17-year-old Christopher Nieves, and the couple watched TV before having sex and going to bed.

The pair went to get pizza the next morning before the teenager told a neighbor that "her mother would not wake up and there was blood on the floor."