Prosecutors raised the stakes in the videotaped beating of a Lakeland girl with their decision Thursday to try eight teenage defendants as adults and with crimes that include kidnapping.
The defendants, one as young as 14, now face a penalty of up to life in prison.
The mother of one of the suspects said she can't understand the prosecutors' decision.
"Look at their ages, they're not adults," said Christina Garcia, the mother of Mercades Nichols. "They still have a teenage mentality."