KENNER -- A 16-year-old suspect of killing an elderly man will face a charge of first-degree murder after the Jefferson Parish coroner said the death would be classified a homicide.
Phillip Lynch, 89, and his wife were viciously attacked with a hammer last month. Lynch died Friday, Kenner police said. His death was classified as homicide by blunt force trauma.
The Jefferson Parish District Attorney's Office said it will decide within the next 30 days if it will charge the teen as an adult offender or as a juvenile offender in Lynch's death.
If he is charged and convicted of first-degree murder as an adult, the DA's office can seek to have him sentenced to life without parole since he is a juvenile. A judge, though, can also decide to hand down a sentence that will make him eligible for parole after 25 years, according to a new bill Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law and that went into effect in recent days.
If he is prosecuted and convicted of first-degree murder as a juvenile, the maximum sentence he could get would be a so-called "juvenile life," which would keep him jailed until his 21st birthday.
Meanwhile, the DA's office will decide by next Thursday if the teen will be prosecuted as an adult for the attack on 70-year-old Anita Lynch.
The teen had faced two counts of attempted first-degree murder along with aggravated burglary and theft of a motor vehicle charges after he allegedly stole the couple’s vehicle and crashed it in Baton Rouge.
Police have said the suspect attacked Phillip and Anita Lynch inside their home in mid-July following an argument.