ALBANY, Ga. -- Despite getting beat up, a 15-year-old student at Dougherty High School will face juvenile charges related to gang terrorism along with three other of her gang members, a Dougherty Judicial Circuit official said.
A grand jury indicted one 17-year-old student, Keyanna Knight, as an adult and three others face juvenile charges including gang participation, said Dougherty Judicial Circuit District Attorney Greg Edwards.
"Although she was a willing participant in her initiation, she broke the law," Edwards said. "She volunteered; that is gang participation."
Edwards did not release the names of the three gang members because they are juveniles. According to the district attorney, the girls are all members of the Savage Diamond gang at the school.
The 15-year-old was initiated into the gang in September by undergoing what is known as a "beat down" initiation in a school restroom.
There are three ways to be initiated into a gang, Edwards said. One is to be "blessed" in, in which a member of good standing vouches for the initiate.
Another is to be "sexed" in, Edwards said. Usually when a female wants to be affiliated with a male gang, she has sex with many members for her initiation.
The third way to initiate is through a beating by gang members. Sometimes this initiation leads to death.
Such an initiation resulted in the June 2009 death of Reginald Richardson in Albany. Ricardson, 32 at the time of his beating death, wanted to join the Black Gangster Disciples.
Edwards said he plans to prosecute the four students to the fullest extent of the law. As an adult, Knight could be imprisoned for five years. Juveniles can face five years in juvenile facilities.
"If she (Knight) was the leader," Edwards said, "the punishment would be more severe."