MOBILE, Alabama — A Mobile County judge this morning denied bail for a teenager accused of killing Wendy Fisher on the street outside her home on Racine Avenue in west Mobile.
That means that Trayon Washington, 17, will be jailed pending trial on a murder charge.
For now, Washington is charged with murder, but Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich said it could be upgraded to capital murder depending on the circumstances.
“The investigation is continuing,” she said.
Under state law, murder can be a capital offense if it occurs in or from a vehicle. Witnesses have said one of the men inside the car got out after Fisher had yelled to slow down. If the shooter was completely outside the car when he fired, it could not be a capital offense.
Even if the Washington were inside the car at the time, Rich said, prosecutors would not automatically seek a capital murder indictment.
“We don’t necessarily charge capital murder in every case where it could apply,” she said. “That’s something we decide after considering all the circumstances. It’s just too early to make that determination.”
Rich said she does not anticipate arrests today of other people who were inside the car with Washington.
“Not at this time,” she said. “But as I said, the investigation is continuing.”
If Washington ever does face a capital charge, his age would limit the punishment he could face, thanks to a string of U.S. Supreme Court decisions over the past decade that have carved out differences in the way the criminal justice system treats juveniles and adults.
Murderers whose crimes occur before they turn 18 cannot be executed. The high court built on that line of reasoning last month in a decision banning automatic life-without-parole sentences for juvenile killers. Under the ruling, a judge could still impose such a prison term, but only have a hearing in which he or she could consider lesser options.