Lawyer: TN 11-year-old charged with murder could spend life in prison

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WVLT/WREG/WMC) -- An 11-year-old boy is charged with attempted first-degree murder after a double-shooting Wednesday night, WMC5 reported.

There were two victims, a father and son, identified as 34-year-old Philip David Vongphachanh and 14-year-old David Vongphachanh. The 14-year-old was taken off of life support over the weekend.

Police said the 11-year-old was friends with the 14-year-old.

Police upgraded the charges against the 11-year-old after the 14-year-old was taken off life support. A criminal defense attorney, Blake Ballin, spoke to WVLT News' affiliate WMC5 and said the 11-year-old could possibly send life behind bars.

Ballin said the process of transferring the boy to adult court would take months. "Is this the type of child that needs to be transferred or can we rehabilitate him," said Blake Ballin, criminal defense attorney.

That question is one among many that is asked when considering whether or not to transfer a child to adult court. It's not clear whether he will be tried as an adult or not.

Police said the boy is charged with first degree murder in preparation of a theft and criminal attempt to wit: first degree murder.

“It seems on its surface that it wouldn’t be quite fair to treat an 11-year-old as an adult even for something as serious as murder and attempted murder,” said Ballin.

According to CBS affiliate WREG, Vongphachanh's grandmother, Diana Slaughter, said his father was still in hospital as of Friday and had undergone a six-hour surgery on Thursday.

She said the family is waiting until the father wakes up before they make any decisions about the teenager.

"It's tragic. I've never lost a grandson. I've never lost a child. He was a straight A and B student. He had his whole life ahead of him," she said.

Slaughter believed her son was shot as soon as he got home on Wednesday night. "As soon as he got inside the house he was shot, and I think my grandson was already shot."

Slaugther said when she got back to the home an Xbox, cell phone and money were missing.

The District Attorney's Office said this is an ongoing case and they are reviewing the information.