OAKLAND, Calif. —
Just hours after a 14-year-old Oakland boy suspected of fatally shooting his 17-year-old sister turned himself in to police Wednesday, KTVU talked exclusively to his attorney in a remarkably frank discussion about the teen's case.
14-year-old Mario Tolliver, Jr. had been hiding since last Thursday when investigators said he fatally shot his 17-year-old sister Justice Tolliver at the apartment where the two siblings lived with their grandmother.
Tolliver family attorney Adante Pointer told KTVU that getting the teen into police custody without being harmed was their main goal.
"The family has already lost one child. And we didn't want to be in a situation where they lost two children. So, we were just very much concerned with getting him in safely into police custody," explained Pointer.
Pointer accompanied the boy and his family to the police station Wednesday afternoon after family members convinced the teen to turn himself in. Pointer described the boy as distraught.
"As you can imagine, [he was] very emotional," said Pointer. "You know, you're having to say your last goodbyes, if you will. Which is obviously something that his sister did not get a chance to do."
Prosecutors told KTVU News that they expect to decide Thursday whether to charge the teen as an adult in the case.
When asked if the teen was not guilty of homicide, the attorney replied, "You know, there's different degrees of homicide. What we hope is that the district attorney's office will take the complete picture into consideration as it relates to, who he is, what took place, and that everyone has redemption in them."
Pointer disputes family members accounts that the shooting happened because the suspect was angry that his sister bleached his clothing.
During a brief press conference to address the teen turning himself in , Oakland Police said little about the young man.
When KTVU asked Oakland Police Sergeant Mike Gantt what led authorities think Tolliver, Jr. committed the crime, Gantt said simply, "Based on information we obtained while investigating the case."
Pointer said the boy invoked his Miranda rights, meaning the police could not interview him Wednesday without his attorney present.
KTVU contacted the boy's father by phone Wednesday afternoon. He said the family remains devastated by his daughter's death, but they're relieved that his son surrendered.