Judge finds boy guilty in fatal 2013 stabbing of 8-year-old sister

A judge reached a verdict Tuesday afternoon in the murder trial of a boy accused of killing his 8-year-old sister.

Judge Thomas Smith found the 15-year-old brother of Leila Fowler guilty of stabbing the girl to death in their family's home in Calaveras County.

People who were in the courtroom said the boy's father stormed out when the judge announced his verdict.

The judge decided the boy was guilty of second degree murder for stabbing Leila in the top bunk of her bed back in April of 2013.

Leila's brother, who was just 12 at the time, set off a massive manhunt in the town of Valley Springs when he called 911 and said an intruder stabbed his sister.

Yet prosecutors say traces of Leila's blood were found on a knife in the home and her brother waited more than a minute into that 911 call before telling the dispatcher his sister had actually been stabbed.

Despite all of that, the family insists the boy is innocent.

They maintain the boy had no motive to kill his sister and DNA evidence from an unknown male found on Leila's underwear raised more doubt.

They believe a killer is still out there.

Since Leila Fowler's brother was 12 at the time, prosecutors charged him as a juvenile. There was no jury on this trial.

Judge Smith said he spent hours considering this case but ultimately struggled to believe the boy's story about an intruder.

The boy could now remain locked up until his 23rd birthday, but sentencing isn't scheduled until next month.