Boy Charged With Capital Murder After 12-Year-Old Burned to Death

A 13-year-old boy has been charged with capital murder in connection with the death of his 12-year-old friend, police say.

Michael Lane Campbell was arrested and charged as an adult on Friday, two months after Gaines Coker burned to death at a property in Coldwater, Mississippi.

The boys were reportedly playing behind a shed on a property near Arkabutla Lake on Arkabutla Dam Lake when a fire broke out and Coker was engulfed in flames around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday June 27, Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance told WREG-TV.

Coker was rushed to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and then flown to the burn unit in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he died the following day.

Tate County murder
The incident happened while the boys were playing in a workshop building at a house at Arkabutla Lake near Coldwater in Tate County. Google Maps

Investigators said Coker came from Tunica to Tate County to visit a friend, the same boy he was playing with when the fire broke out.

However, Sheriff Lance said it was unclear how the fire started, if one of the boys set it, or whether anyone was with him at the time. He did confirm that family members were inside the house when the fire started and the other boy was not injured in the blaze.

"We're in the very early stages of trying to determine what happened," Lance told WREG-TV at the time. "Any case involving a child is different whether it be fire, and especially a death investigation. It's tough on everybody involved."

On Friday, the sheriff confirmed Campbell has since been charged as an adult with one count of capital murder following a joint investigation with the Tate County Sheriff's Office and the state fire marshal's office.

The 13-year-old is currently being held in the Tate County jail without bond.

Newsweek has contacted the Tate County Sheriff's Office for comment.

In a similarly disturbing case, a 14-year-old Florida teenager was charged with the murder of his 13-year-old classmate Tristyn Bailey.

Aiden Fucci is accused of stabbing Bailey more than 100 times on Mother's Day earlier this year.

Bailey was stabbed 114 times with at least 35 of the wounds located on the head and neck, and 49 of the marks confirmed to be defensive wounds on the upper extremities, according to the medical examiner's report.

Her body was found lying in a wooded area of St. Johns, Florida on May 9 after being reported missing earlier that day.

The word "KARMA" was found handwritten in blue ink on her left ankle, medical examiner's found. A smiley face was also drawn on her right ankle. The report did not state who put the writing on her body, but stated there were "smudged palm prints of dried blood" on her thighs and calves.

Fucci was arrested the following day and charged with second-degree murder. Prosecutors have since upgraded the charge to pre-mediated first-degree murder because of evidence that indicated premeditation.