Teens, a girl and a friendship gone wrong | Arian Henno

Testimony of witnesses in the case of Rittenhouse, Pa. has “cast serious doubts” on the claim by 13 year-old Brianna Brochu that she killed her long-time best friend, 18 year-old Raynetta Sweat, in order to curry favour with a boy she met online.

The prosecution’s case relied on the opinion of a former nurse friend of Sweat’s saying Brochu’s story was “laughable”, a witness’s own statements to police, information from a schoolmate who told authorities Sweat’s throat was cut, a classmate being interviewed at the time saying he had been the boy Brochu met online and a school employee saying that Brochu had told them her story.

It is not clear from what Brochu’s defence will based its defence, as the detective who interrogated Brochu about this case, said he offered “nothing” in terms of prosecutorial strategy and he found Brochu’s version of events “unsatisfactory.”

The prosecution got its week two witnesses from the Rittenhouse Youth Development Center where Sweat was being held. Among them was the former nurse friend of Sweat’s who said that Brochu’s story of a random act of cruelty was “laughable”. She also said it was impossible to know what the boy Brochu met on the Internet truly intended by trying to invite her to his house.

Lawyers from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office have also met with the school district of Rittenhouse which agreed not to press charges against Brochu’s mother.

Brochu has pled not guilty. Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a statement that the verdict “does not change our mind about the importance of rethinking our criminal justice system for the 21st century”.

• This article originally said that Raynetta Sweat’s body was discovered by a passing bicyclist. It was discovered by her mother, whom she was staying with at the time she was killed.

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