HOLLYWOOD, FL. (WSVN) – A teenager accused of kidnapping and repeatedly raping a woman on a Hollywood sidewalk is being charged as an adult.
The news was announced in court, Friday morning, along with disturbing details about the crime 15-year-old Terry Berger-Smith is accused of committing on June 10.
Prosecutors said he stalked a woman and approached her on the 300 block of South Park Road.
“He told her he wanted to add her to his collection, repeatedly raped, livestreamed the incident to his friend,” said prosecutor Eric Linder. “When the victim asked if he had any sexually transmitted diseases, he told her he had AIDS.”
Police arrested Berger-Smith, then 14, three days later.
After the Broward State Attorney’s Office considered the facts and evidence against Berger-Smith, a panel of senior prosecutors decided the responsible course of action was to file criminal charges in the adult system.
The teen faces four counts of sexual battery and one count of kidnapping.
Berger-Smith’s attorney, Jim Lewis, expressed his misgivings about his client being tried as an adult.
“I thought we’d learned the lessons from years ago that we don’t take kids and put them in an adult situation,” he said. “It’s a very serious crime; we’re maintaining our innocence. Nobody’s saying that he’s guilty, but still, it’s a case that you play out in juvenile court.”
Berger-Smith was held in a juvenile detention center until the state moved him into the Broward County jail system.
This decision came after the state attorney’s office considered Berger-Smith’s prior violent criminal history and the fact that he was recently released from a juvenile facility in New York, where he spent 18 months.
“At the age of 12, out of the state of New York, he committed and attempted rape at knifepoint,” said Linder. “In the process of attempting to rape the victim, he ripped out the victim’s tooth and kept it as a trophy, Your Honor. He was also a co-defendant in a robbery where the victim was viciously beaten.”
Police said Berger-Smith may also be connected to another crime in Hollywood.
A woman said the teen attacked her in late May. To date, he has not been charged in this case.
In a news release, Broward County State Attorney Harold F. Pryor said, “I have to prioritize the safety of the community and make these kinds of decisions after reviewing all of the evidence and circumstances. This person already went through the juvenile system in New York for a very disturbing violent incident and was committed to a juvenile facility there for 18 months. Upon release, he relocated to Broward County.”
“We can certainly disagree with it, but there’s nothing we can do about it but fight the charges at this point,” said Lewis, “and he’s looking at 20 to 30 years in prison. We don’t have any choice but to fight them.”
The maximum possible penalty for the offenses is life in state prison.
Berger-Smith is next scheduled to appear before an adult criminal court judge to decide if bond will be set in his case. He is currently being held without bond in a juvenile unit at the Broward County Jail.
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