Lawyer for teen accused in cyberbullying-suicide case slams Polk Co. sheriff



POLK COUNTY, Fla. - New controversy surrounds the case involving two girls charged in connection with cyberbullying that resulted in the suicide of a 12-year-old Polk County girl.

Katelyn Roman, 13, and Guadalupe Shaw, 14, were charged with stalking after Rebecca Sedwick committed suicide last month.

Police said Rebecca was tormented online and at school by as many as 15 girls before she climbed a tower at an abandoned concrete plant and hurled herself to her death Sept. 9.

Facebook chats involving cyberbully-suicide suspects: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3

Roman was scheduled to enter a plea Friday, but her arraignment was postponed. Her attorney, Jose Baez, held a news conference where he blamed Sheriff Grady Judd for bullying his client.

Baez, who was the lead attorney in the Casey Anthony trial, went on to question Judd's sincerity for repeatedly "making the media rounds at the expense of a child."

"She is a child and I'm not going to allow her to be bullied, and I'm not going to allow the system to bully her," Baez said.

Baez declared there's no evidence linking Roman to cyberbullying, despite pages of Facebook posts obtained by Channel 9.

"I think my client is just as much a victim in this case as she is a defendant," said Baez. "Why is the sheriff of this county stuffing her mug shot in front of all the cameras?"

Baez's statements set off a sharp response from Judd, who came in on his day off to hold an impromptu news conference of his own.

"He drives all the way across the state to represent her.  You draw your own conclusions why he's here," said Judd of Baez.

Judd said the evidence against Roman is clear and he urged Baez to work a deal with prosecutors.

"What he needs to recognize is the true victim here is Rebecca Sedwick," said Judd.

"We plan on fighting this thing to the very end," said Baez. "This girls deserves more than to have her face plastered across the country and being blamed, directly blamed for the death of one of her friends."

Roman is due back in court on Tuesday.