Family standing by brother accused of murder


There are conflicting accounts from those who know Leila Fowler's older brother, a seventh grader who some say was often in trouble, suspended even, but never violent.

"He was really sweet; I never thought he would do anything like that to his little sister like that, it's really kind of scary," classmate Bethany Turner said.

"He would always have issues, one of those guys that would always be in trouble," classmate Morgan Ussery said.

Now, the 12-year-old is reportedly in a youth detention center on charges he stabbed his 8-year-old sister Leila to death in their Valley Springs home. Some who live in the small Sierra foothills town told ABC7 News they were not surprised by his arrest.

"I had suspicions that it might've been him; I think everybody did in town," Valley Springs resident Gary Taylor said.

Barney Fowler, the biological father of both Leila and her brother, told The Associated Press the family is backing the boy. The siblings' step grandmother Robin Walters told ABC7 News, "He loved his sister. We can't see him doing anything like this."

One Valley Springs student says the whole fowler family, including the 12-year-old brother, came to school last Friday to say goodbye, one day before the boy was arrested.

"He seemed nice and funny when I hugged him on Friday," Jordan Ainsworth said.

"I really believe this little boy can be rehabilitated, I still feel that way; I just known he needs a lot of help," Valley Springs resident Lisa Caywood said.

The Fowler family was expected to release a statement Tuesday afternoon but cancelled the press conference late Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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