Judge Thomas Lipps announced his decision after reviewing evidence presented over four days of testimony in the case against 17-year-old Trent Mays and 16-year-old Ma’lik Richmond, who were tried as juveniles.
Mays and Richmond were tried before Lipps, a visiting judge, without a jury. The trial moved quickly — and through the weekend — to accommodate the judge’s schedule.
They face the possibility of being jailed until they are 21.
The ruling brings an end to a trial that has gained national attention for its lurid text messages, cell phone pictures and videos, and social media posts surrounding the alleged sexual abuse of the girl.
Mays and Richmond (along with their lawyers and families) were extremely emotional in the courtroom in the wake of the decision, with both offering statements apologizing to the victim.