WAUKESHA (WITI) -- A case involving two 12-year-old girls accused of stabbing a 12-year-old girl 19 times in the woods in Waukesha this weekend is creating controversy. 12-year-old Morgan Geyser and 12-year-old Anissa Weier have been charged in adult court -- but should they be? Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe DeCecco knows what it's like to prosecute children as adults. Last summer, two Sheboygan County 13 year olds were convicted in the brutal murder of the great-grandmother of one of the boys. Now, DeCecco is speaking out on the Waukesha case.
DeCecco tells FOX6 News he was hoping he would never have to hear of children so young committing such a heinous crime ever again.
Less than a year after his case, involving Antonio Barbeau and Nathan Paape (each sentenced to life in prison in the death of Barbeau's great-grandmother), DeCecco says he's shocked and saddened by what's happening now in Waukesha.
Geyser and Weier are just 12 years old -- and they're accused of plotting the murder of their friend for months -- and nearly killing her last weekend in a Waukesha park.
With their criminal cases just getting underway -- DeCecco is reminded of a case in his county.
"It was kind of a shocker and it brought back memories of what we went through," DeCecco said.
It has been less than a year since DeCecco worked to prosecute Barbeau and Paape.
The boys were 13 when they killed Barbeau's great-grandmother with a hatchet and a hammer for money.
"The game really changes. It`s the same standards, the same rules -- but changes a little bit when you have younger people," DeCecco said.
DeCecco says there's extra scrutiny when it comes to suspects so young.
Questions are being raised in Waukesha about the 12-year-old girls waiving their Miranda rights and being questioned before their parents arrived.
DeCecco says similar questions were raised in his case as well. He says questioning children is tough -- but law enforcement officials are trained.
"They are very good about making sure the juveniles in any situation, whether it be in juvenile court or adult court understand," DeCecco said.
In DeCecco's case, the boys were tried as adults. They are both each serving life sentences -- and may eventually be eligible for parole.
DeCecco says while each case is different, there must be appropriate punishment for disturbing crimes.
"You don`t look at their Justin Beiber haricuts. You don`t look at their acne. They are not quite older yet. We look at what they did and I think that`s how most prosecutors look at it. What did you do? Not what you look like. What did you do?" DeCecco said.
FOX6 News spoke with the Waukesha County District Attorney on Wednesday, June 4th about the Miranda rights issue.
He says the officers who conducted the interviews have experience interviewing young suspects.
He says he believes the girls' statements will hold up in court if challenged.