Teen charged as adult in sex strangulation case
A 16-year-old US girl who police say strangled a man during an apparent sex act has been charged as an adult with second-degree murder.
Jason Ash, 43, was found dead in a Glendale apartment in Arizona. According to court records, he was discovered lying on his back on a bed with an electrical cord around his neck and cuts to his face, arms and body.
The girl's mother told police she left her daughter alone in their apartment with Ash, whom she described as a boyfriend of the teenager.
She said she later received a call from her daughter "stating she thought Jason was dead," according to a probable-cause statement.
The mother told police her daughter told her the couple was "playing sex games and he was cut on the arms and choked."
The girl told her mother they often used strangulation and cutting as part of their sexual activity and that "Jason did not say the 'safety word,' " police wrote in court papers.
The teenage girl was arrested at the scene. She was later charged as an adult and remained jailed.
No attorney was listed for her in court records. A court date is set for next week.
The Associated Press is not naming the girl or her mother to protect the identity of the suspect because she is a minor and was not of legal age to consent to sex with Ash. Sex with a minor is a felony under Arizona law.
"This is more a tragic accident than murder," said Phoenix-area criminal defense lawyer Julio Laboy, who hasn't been retained in the case but is aware of the details.
He added that the suspect also appears to be a victim.
"It is not self-defence and it is not reckless as she was being victimised in the moments this action took place presumably by a middle-aged man who held sway over her and took advantage of her age to influence a young girl who can't consent" to sex, Laboy said.
The probable-cause statement indicates the girl confessed to authorities. During an interview with investigators, she "admitted to causing the death of Jason Ash by consensual strangulation."
The girl said that "after she strangled Jason with an electrical cord, she began cutting him with a razor blade," according to police.
"The first cut was an attempt to get a response from Jason since he appeared to have passed out ... She continued to cut on Jason in order to alleviate her stress from the situation."