Never Too Young to Try

This is absolutely insane:

A judge in Pennsylvania has denied a request from a 12-year-old homicide suspect to have his case transferred to juvenile court.

Jordan Brown is facing adult charges in the February 2009 shooting death of his father’s pregnant girlfriend, and a judge turned down a petition to have the case transferred from criminal to juvenile court.

Police have said the boy, then 11, shot Kenzie Marie Houk, who was eight months’ pregnant, once at point-blank range in her farmhouse in western Pennsylvania.

He has been charged with one count each of criminal homicide and homicide of an unborn child in the death of Houk, 26, Lawrence County District Attorney John Bongivengo said.

Why exactly do we even have juvenile court if an 11 year old can be tried as an adult? Does this make any sense to anyone? And this is just priceless, too:

The weapon was a youth model 20-gauge shotgun, designed for use by children, that belonged to the boy, according to investigators.

I’m going to make the bold declaration that the last god damned thing we need in this country is “youth model” shotguns.

105 replies
  1. 1
    Short Bus Bully says:

    “You can pry my youth model shotgun from my cold dead hands” doesn’t have much of a ring to it I’ll admit.

  2. 2
    Chad S says:

    I’m sorry, but transferring him to Juve court usually means the only punishment available is to put him in minimum security until he’s 18. If he has to go to adult jail for the rest of his life after he turns 18, fine, but I don’t want this monster on the streets ever again.

  3. 3

    Yep, youth model shotguns. Geez. Sad story.

  4. 4
    Joseph Nobles says:

    So this video of a Scarface school play is totally inappropriate, right?

  5. 5
    beltane says:

    You are obviously an arugula eating commie pinko. If all our fifth graders brought their kid sized guns to school we wouldn’t have any more arguments during kickball.

  6. 6
    MikeJ says:

    When I was a kid, if you couldn’t handle the kick from a shotgun you were stuck with the .22

  7. 7
    ChrisZ says:

    If you don’t start them off young how will they ever reach the rank of Arkon?

  8. 8
    Caravelle says:

    Why exactly do we even have juvenile court if an 11 year old can be tried as an adult? Does this make any sense to anyone?

    Not to me that’s for sure. I was expecting it to be some bloodthirsty judge/prosecutor but according to the article :
    Under Pennsylvania law, anyone over 10 accused of murder or homicide is charged as an adult.

    At least the death penalty isn’t on the table.

  9. 9
    Gravenstone says:

    Sorry, no. Youth models are perfectly acceptable as means of teaching kids how to properly and responsibly use firearms. In this particular case, it appears the “responsible” portion of that is distinctly missing.

  10. 10
    cd6 says:

    I’m going to make the bold declaration that the last god damned thing we need in this country is “youth model” shotguns.

    So what you’re saying is, you hate the 2nd amendment?
    Well thanks for clearin the air, comrade. Go back to the soviet union.

  11. 11
    trollhattan says:

    Tiny guns don’t kill people, tiny people wielding tiny guns kill people.

    “Leave the guns alooooone!”

    Also too, teenagers hunting, accompanied by teenagers. What could possibly go wrong?

    http://www.kirotv.com/news/17075002/detail.html

  12. 12
    mr. whipple says:

    I’m going to make the bold declaration that the last god damned thing we need in this country is “youth model” shotguns.

    I don’t have a problem with them, provided they are used under supervision and and stored properly.

  13. 13

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Yep, youth model shotguns. Geez. Sad story

    Other than the fact that they’ve been around for a long time. Previous to that the method was to cut down a full size 20 ga. Despite your vapours, a shit load of rounds have been fired through these by a shit load of kids without a pregnant mother being on the aimed end.

  14. 14
    Mark says:

    If a judge declares that a 12-year-old is mature enough to stand trial as an adult, and that 12-year-old is then acquitted, shouldn’t that 12-year-old then have the right to vote, gamble, buy cigarettes and get married?

    Why is it acceptable to say that this child is an adult for purposes of standing trial, but not an adult for any other purpose?

  15. 15

    Well, if we are going to bombard the tykes with warpron video games, the least we could do is provide them with “youth model” shotguns, from a marketing standpoint, that is. Buncha libtard commies hate gun ownership and godly commerce.

  16. 16
    smiley says:

    I’m going to make the bold declaration that the last god damned thing we need in this country is “youth model” shotguns.

    I had one – plus a lot of organized and nonoganized gun-safety education – but mine was a .410. A lot of kids in rural areas do. Then they gave me the .50 caliber…

  17. 17

    but I don’t want this monster on the streets ever again.

    He’s fucking eleven years old.

  18. 18
    gbear says:

    There are a lot of adults who should be tried as juveniles.

  19. 19
    The Moar You Know says:

    I don’t want this monster on the streets ever again.

    @Chad S: Have we no gas chambers? No woodchippers?

    Jesus H. Christ, he’s 12. You want to put someone in jail for the rest of their life? You might want to start with the idiot who bought him a shotgun made for children. And maybe the asswipe who manufactures a shotgun made for children.

    I learned how to shoot and handle a gun at age 8, by the way. Perfectly reasonable. But I wasn’t given my own gun.

  20. 20
    Caravelle says:

    Chad S :

    If he has to go to adult jail for the rest of his life after he turns 18, fine, but I don’t want this monster on the streets ever again.

    Of all the… You know nothing about this. Or do you have some other source than the article ? Because the only foray the article does into the kid’s motivations is the county district attorney saying “At this point, we don’t believe it’s accidental”. Gosh, sounds like a monster we should incinerate in the Pit of Doom right there.

  21. 21
    Zulif tyrese says:

    Without a juvenile model shotgun, how’s my boy supposed to protect himself against the two dozen Delta force operators who storm the compound?

  22. 22
  23. 23
    Mike Kay says:

    this wouldn’t happened if the gun control nuts hadn’t banned the right of the unborn to carry concealed weapons.

  24. 24
    ChrisZ says:

    @Mark:

    I’m not trying to be a douche, but it’s certainly not clear to me why all of these things should have exactly the same requirements. Perhaps the law-makers thought that a 10-year-old should be able to tell the difference between right and wrong well enough to be held accountable for murder, but still not fully understand the consequences of marriage, or smoking cigarettes?

    Also, without having read the decision or knowing Pennsylvania law, it may not really be fair to be pinning this on the judge.

  25. 25
    minachica says:

    @mightygodking: If I had access to firearms when I was eleven there woulda been a bloodbath

  26. 26
    Loneoak says:

    but I don’t want this monster on the streets ever again.
    He’s fucking eleven years old.

    If he’s not a monster yet, he sure as hell would be when he gets out of prison in 60 years. You have to believe some people make terrible mistakes and can be redeemed.

  27. 27

    @MikeJ:

    When I was a kid, if you couldn’t handle the kick from a shotgun you were stuck with the .22

    My two older cousins took me on my first squirrel safari when I was about 9 or 10 and handed me a single shot 12 gauge with a full choke and 40 inch barrel. The damn thing was taller than I was.

    We were on a hillside for my first blast at a squirrel in the top of a Hickory tree. So I stood on a rock and let her rip. It sent me flying backwards and rolled me half down the hill. My two cousins were rolling on the ground cackling like Hyenas. And then I started cackling too, at how much fun it was and couldn’t wait to do it again.

  28. 28
    dr. bloor says:

    What are minimum sentencing guidelines for the charges he’s facing in PA? The particulars of the case aside–none being mentioned in the article cited–the judge may be looking to keep options open at this point.

  29. 29
    jl says:

    The article says that PA law says that anyone over ten accused of homocide must be tried as an adult.

    Sounds like that is the law in PA.

    Any PA people here know how long that law has been on the books? Is this a recent law?

    I cannot tell anything at all about the reasonableness of the ruling from this brief article.

    Personally, I think the nonsense that I hear reported about various ‘zero tolerance’ rules in schools is a better object for outrage.

    I heard about a case where some kid put a pill in a girl’s hand at school that turned out to be an illegal drug. The girl handed it back and reported what was going on. Girl got suspended becuase she touched an illegal drug, and ‘zero tolerance’.

    That is goofballery of the highest order.

  30. 30
    Loneoak says:

    Hello kitty hand grenade.

    Wait, is that right?

  31. 31
    Gus says:

    @Gravenstone: Yes. My first shotgun was a youth model .410. The sooner you start the better, more responsible hunter you’ll be.

  32. 32
    jl says:

    I was shootin’ varmints out on the range at 12 too. But no one on the farm had ‘their own gun’. There were guns in a locked gun closet, and when a varmint needed shootin’ on the farm a growd up got themselfs a gun and done went shot it, or maybe got another gun to teach a kid how to shoot a varmint.

    If I had ever been caught with a gun unsupervised, or stolt out of the closet, or foolin’ with it in any way, I shore would’ve got a whuppin’.

  33. 33
    Gus says:

    @The Moar You Know: Why, if it’s reasonable to learn how to shoot at 8 (or 12 or whatever) is it not reasonable to make a gun that’s easier for a youth to handle?

  34. 34
    Joel says:

    thinking on this, wouldn’t the best option be to have juvenile sentencing following by re-evaluation for further sentencing when the offender becomes an adult?

  35. 35
    The Moar You Know says:

    Why, if it’s reasonable to learn how to shoot at 8 (or 12 or whatever) is it not reasonable to make a gun that’s easier for a youth to handle?

    @Gus: Perhaps I did not phrase this well. It’s perfectly fine for youngsters to shoot. It is absolutely not OK for them to have their own firearms. My grandfather and dad taught me how to shoot, but if they’d caught me in the gun cabinet they’d have beaten me black and blue and then have grounded me for the rest of my life. And they’d have been right to.

  36. 36
    Gus says:

    @The Moar You Know: Gotcha. Again, I had “my own” gun, but you’re right. I wasn’t to touch it without my dad’s say-so.

  37. 37
    Honus says:

    @Chuck Butcher: until now.

  38. 38
    Dannie22 says:

    This story disturbs me because we seem to as a society just cavalierly throw young children away. I don’t know the circumstances and I cannot judge.

    Does a child of twelve understand the ramfications of his actions?

  39. 39
    Chad S says:

    @Caravelle: No, I remember this crime when it happened. It was premeditated, not accidental. He shot her while she was sleeping in bed, then went to school like nothing had happened. He’s a killer.

    @The Moar You Know: The choice is probably life in jail or 6 years and his record is sealed so that no one(not even the cops unless they have probable cause to get his record unsealed) will know if/when he shoots someone again.

  40. 40
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @Loneoak: I’m sure that there was a dancer at Voyeur West Hollywood dressed in Hello Kitty bondage gear.

  41. 41
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Chad S: Your hysteria and pants-shitting terror of 12-year olds is duly noted.

  42. 42

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Other than the fact that they’ve been around for a long time. Previous to that the method was to cut down a full size 20 ga. Despite your vapours, a shit load of rounds have been fired through these by a shit load of kids without a pregnant mother being on the aimed end.

    Speaking as someone who learned to shoot .22s at a young age, and a .357 at about that age, I never had a “youth model” shotgun. And you’re right about the fact that a bunch of rounds have been fired. Of course, this isn’t the only case of a kid pointing a gun in the wrong direction.

    As for being tried as an adult, I honestly don’t know what the answer is here. Kids playing Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty may have no idea what real death is like. I’m not going to make that connection. But it’s a tragedy, all the same.

  43. 43
    Honus says:

    something for the 10 year old girls: Cricket

  44. 44
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @The Moar You Know: String ’em up. It’s the only language 12-year-olds understand. Or something.

  45. 45
    Josh from Texas says:

    Here’s my thing, hear me out:

    I learned how to shoot a gun at a pretty young age (12-13 years old), and one of the first things I learned was to respect the power of a weapon. After my dad took me hunting for the first time shortly thereafter, it was quickly made apparent that whatever I pointed that gun at and pulled the trigger was going to be made DEAD in a very serious, very permanent way.

    Everyone here who is defending this boy seems to be doing so from the position that “he is just a boy, how could he possibly make adult decisions, how could he know, he’s got his whole life ahead of him, yada yada yada”.

    This defense precludes the possibility that murderous sociopaths can develop at a young age. I would direct everyone’s attention to the rash of school shootings several years ago. Those children cried in their jail cell when they couldn’t have pizza, yet hours before had sat on a hill and sniped their classmates with a rifle. My point is, ANYONE who knows enough about firearms to have their own ‘youth model’ shotgun knows what happens to something on the other end when it goes ‘bang’. The fact that the shooter happens to be 12 only makes this crime more scary and sad. There are consequences to our decisions in this life, and the fact that he chose to end 2 lives means that he must face those consequences, age be damned.

  46. 46
    Ryan says:

    Youth model shotguns don’t kill people, youths do.

  47. 47

    @The Moar You Know:

    My grandfather and dad taught me how to shoot, but if they’d caught me in the gun cabinet they’d have beaten me black and blue and then have grounded me for the rest of my life. And they’d have been right to.

    yep. this.

  48. 48

    @Honus:

    until now.

    The other day they caught a twelve year old girl after an over 100mph chase including wrong way on the freeway, if the seat hadn’t moved that far forward…

    Any damn thing may happen, what the hell is the matter with you? What if I were to tell you that some Catholic priests might molest boys?

  49. 49
    Corner Stone says:

    I’m going to make the -bold- incredibly silly declaration that the last god damned thing we need in this country is “youth model” shotguns.

    Give it a rest Cole.
    Youth model, Henckels, Louisville Slugger, low gauge fishing line. She wasn’t killed at 30 paces. Whatever is riding the young child, it was coming.

  50. 50
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    Why exactly do we even have juvenile court if an 11 year old can be tried as an adult?

    Our approach to juvenile crime makes no sense whatsoever. Why is an 11 year old who shoots someone an adult criminal, but a 14 year old who voluntarily sends nude photos of her/himself to other 14 year olds an unfortunate victim, while the recipients of the photos are branded sex offenders for life? If anyone can make the goddamnest bit of sense out of that one I’d love to read it.

  51. 51
    danimal says:

    You folks are pretty hard on the kid. He’s Only a Lad.

  52. 52
    Chad S says:

    @The Moar You Know: Any 12 year old who shoots a woman in her bed while she’s sleeping, then goes to school like nothing happened fits the textbook definition of a psychopath. Snark all you want, but the kid needs to be removed from society because he will kill again if the facts of the case are true.

  53. 53
    Karen says:

    The magic words are “homicide of an unborn child.”

    You think the judge would care as much if the boy’s father’s girlfriend wasn’t pregnant? For some reason I doubt it.

    But other than that, people can’t make judgments with the info shown so far. Where is the boy’s mother in all this? Is she alive? Dead? Does she have custody of the boy? When did the father get a girlfriend? All of those issues could maybe shed some light into the child’s motives. Or if the boy has serious emotional problems or anger management difficulties we don’t know that either.

    We don’t even know how the girlfriend treated her boyfriend’s son. Or how the father treated his son. Was there abuse?

    So yes, it’s a monstrous thing that the child did but before calling him a monster, let’s find out more about things, okay?

  54. 54
    Josh from Texas says:

    Does a child of twelve understand the ramfications of his actions?

    See my above post. I find it impossible to believe anyone with their own ‘youth shotgun’ doesn’t know what’s going to happen to their target.

  55. 55
    Luthe says:

    @Chad S:

    You obviously have no knowledge of current cognitive neuroscience research, which has shown that the pre-frontal lobes, which are the decision making centers of the brain, don’t fully develop until age 25. The kid is half that. There is absolutely no way he is fit to stand trial as an adult. He doesn’t have the cognitive development for it.

  56. 56
    Josh from Texas says:

    @Luthe: I’m pretty sure at 12 I knew that shooting somebody would KILL THEM. The frontal lobes may not be FULLY DEVELOPED, but if they’re not developed enough by that point to determine that murder is wrong, then we’ve got a serious problem. If every 12 year old suffered the lack of judgment you’re defending, I would be more inclined to be sympathetic, but the statistics don’t back this up.

  57. 57
    Chad S says:

    @Luthe: He’s shown that he has no regard for human life–that won’t change. And while you’re right about the pre-frontal lobe development, there’s very good reasons why the FBI’s behavior sciences department knows that there is a correlation between pre-teen behavior and the development of serial killers(the major red flags being cruelty to animals, fascination with fire, late bed wetting and violence towards those close to them).

  58. 58

    Let me point something out, being free involves a shit load of risk – there are real uncomfortable consequences to things like free speech, press, and assembly.

    Which one of you thinks there is a grand old theory of slavery in the Anglo-Saxon Norman tradition? It existed in this fucking country because people were persuaded that it was a good idea. Persuaded – not held at gun point. You reckon people didn’t have to be persuaded to burn their neighbors in the Inquisition? You reckong maybe Joe McCarthy did as much damage as he did at the end of a gun? You reckon maybe people aren’t persuaded to go to war – they just up and decide one day?

    You protect at tremendous risk those rights and yet you propose… How in this name of “security” are you in the least different from BushCo? Your whining mewling crying dick comparisons are just that – whiny shit.

    I think this is a great tragedy, for an 11 yr old, for a dead woman and child, for a father. I have no idea what to do with the kid… I’m not a lawyer and PA law is way out of my concerns.

  59. 59
    Josh from Texas says:

    @Chuck Butcher: Dude, all but the very last sentence of that made no sense whatsoever. I know you’ve got a point to make, I just think I’m missing it.

  60. 60

    @Josh from Texas:
    You want safe? Get rid of the 1st A.

  61. 61
    Josh from Texas says:

    @Chuck Butcher: Did you even read anything I wrote? I’m not the one to be telling that to.

    I think I understand your position now, and it’s directed at some of the posters above me (including John, from how I interpreted his reaction)

    My position is that gun rights are important, and that anyone who is capable of killing in cold blood should stand trial as an adult for their crimes.

  62. 62
    Cain says:

    @Josh from Texas:

    @Chuck Butcher: Dude, all but the very last sentence of that made no sense whatsoever. I know you’ve got a point to make, I just think I’m missing it.

    I think his point is that it isn’t weapons isn’t the bad thing. So, removing them won’t make anybody anymore secure, but rather if you looked at the kind of things that happened in history we lost a lot more by the fact that we lost freedom due to being persuaded to do evil things. Those things are a lot worse.
    Freedom also means that we do stupid shit. Get over it.

    I sort of subscribe to that. I hate guns.. but I expect people who shoot em to know what the fuck they doing and they better face up tot eh music if they make a mistake.

    cain

  63. 63
    Josh from Texas says:

    @Cain: I agree almost completely. I don’t hate guns, but I do despise how cavalier some people (and some groups of people) tend to be with them. They are machines created for killing; there are many good reasons to have a machine to do this, but that also means guns demand an irremovable burden of responsibility to whoever owns/handles one.

    That this boy was only 12 does not remove or lessen that responsibility in any way, and in fact, if anyone wants to legally absolve him of his guilt to any degree, it needs to be in turn laid upon whomever gave/allowed him access to the weapon. Let them pay for his crimes if you must, but murders have been committed, and a burden of responsibility must be met.

  64. 64
    kormgar says:

    For the crime of premeditated murder, I’m actually OK with this.

    Any other crime, no.

  65. 65
    geg6 says:

    Okay, I gotta weigh in here because this happened essentially in my back yard. Enon Valley, PA is about 10 miles north of me and I know it well. It is extremely rural, an area next door to where George Romero filmed his first zombie film. There is probably not a single resident in the entire boro who doesn’t own a gun or ten and they have been shooting and hunting from the moment they can pick one up and aim. This young woman who was murdered had lived with and was engaged to the boy’s father for several years. They had already planned the wedding and should have tied the knot before the baby was born. She had two other young daughters who also lived with them, one of whom was not school age and who was the one who found her mother shot to death. I certainly am very troubled by and reflexively against trying an 11-year-old as an adult. But the reports on this from the start have consistently said he admitted to doing it because he didn’t want another child around taking more of his dad’s attention away from him. And reports on his demeanor since his arrest say he is only remorseful about what has happened to him and not the death he caused. I don’t know what you do with a kid like this, but PA law requires a juvenile to be released at 21. And no reassessments at that point, just release. I don’t think this kid should be out on the streets that quickly or easily. But I also can’t see a life sentence for an 11-year-old (when he did the crime anyway). It’s really a tough call and I don’t know what I’d do. I also have mixed feelings in regard to his dad. I feel for him. He lost his fiancee and his unborn child who he had been looking forward to fathering. And his son is now a lost soul. But he was careless in seeing what was happening with his boy and did not act responsibly as a gun owner. I know lots of kids his age who have or had guns (this IS Western PA, after all), but I know of none who had access to them without adult supervision. Just a tragedy all around and I don’t envy the judge.

  66. 66
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Karen:

    But other than that, people can’t make judgments with the info shown so far. Where is the boy’s mother in all this? Is she alive? Dead? Does she have custody of the boy? When did the father get a girlfriend? All of those issues could maybe shed some light into the child’s motives. Or if the boy has serious emotional problems or anger management difficulties we don’t know that either.

    Nah, it’s easier to just declare that the kid must be a psychopath rather than actually look into his background. If we did that, we might have to admit that a huge number of violent criminals were severely abused as children and didn’t just spring up out of nowhere because they’re innately Bad People.

  67. 67
    Keith G says:

    @Josh from Texas:
    @Chad S:

    Luthe beat me too this, so I will just repeat what he(?) typed because it is the current state of cognitive science:

    You obviously have no knowledge of current cognitive neuroscience research, which has shown that the pre-frontal lobes, which are the decision making centers of the brain, don’t fully develop until age 25. The kid is half that. There is absolutely no way he is fit to stand trial as an adult. He doesn’t have the cognitive development for it.

    The pre-frontal lobe is impulse control. It’s why it’s illegal to let the little fuckers drive a car. *They make bad decisions*. That’s also why they cannot give consent for a huge number of things that adults can legally do without a second thought.

    My hope is that this youngster gets the consequences appropriate to the state of his thinking and decision making at that time. His life is already destroyed. If appropriate, maybe some parts of it can be rebuilt.

  68. 68
    geg6 says:

    Mnemosyne @66: There is no evidence of abuse or anything other than a very normal blended family in this case. This happened in a very, very, very small town. Not a whisper of any sort of scandal and the victim was by all accounts a loving mother and a soon-to-be step-mom who was trying to be a mom for him, too. Even the dad has nothing but good things to say about her. It’s most possible that this kid is something you might find in the DSM.

  69. 69
    Mr Furious says:

    @geg6: Well said (@11:31). Pretty much sums up my feelings on every aspect of the story.

  70. 70
    kormgar says:

    @Keith G:

    That’s true, but another problem is lack of empathy. The mirror neuron systems that are the source of most forms of empathy are active in even very young children. If those systems are not active in a child of 11, they generally never will be.

    It is deeply unfortunate, but many of the neurological defects that lead to sociopathy are well established by that age.

  71. 71
    Keith G says:

    @geg6:

    I have always respected your insights and continue to do so. If PA (like so many other states) has no way to deal with this type of issue, it is a sad reflection on us.

    Still, healthy, adjusted children do not do these things. He did not wake up one day and decide that sharing a bedroom was going to be a pain, so blam!!

    At this age, the best of kids can be a mess; still with a little common sense help, most get by. Something went wrong. Something was missed.

  72. 72
    Mnemosyne says:

    @geg6:

    But the reports on this from the start have consistently said he admitted to doing it because he didn’t want another child around taking more of his dad’s attention away from him. And reports on his demeanor since his arrest say he is only remorseful about what has happened to him and not the death he caused.

    The problem is, given what we now know about children’s brain development, the fact that he isn’t showing remorse right now doesn’t mean that he’s an irredeemable psychopath. I keep Googling to try and find the study, but they examined prisoners who had been diagnosed as sociopaths/psychopaths at around 12 or 13 and tried as adults. They discovered that most of them no longer exhibited the symptoms. And these weren’t guys who had been receiving intensive therapy, either.

  73. 73

    @danimal: You win with the Oingo Boingo reference.

  74. 74
    zulif mclaren says:

    America: a society of sociopaths run by sociopaths.

    If countries were people, America would be Ed Gein.

  75. 75
    Mnemosyne says:

    @geg6:

    There is no evidence of abuse or anything other than a very normal blended family in this case.

    And yet you have a 12-year-old boy who killed his stepmother with a shotgun. Clearly, there was something that was very wrong in the family, because it’s not normal for that to happen and it’s not normal for no one to notice that the boy is unhappy/hostile/angry until he actually kills someone.

    If you look at someone like, say, Kip Kinkel, you see a kid with severe problems that were evident from a young age and that his family and teachers struggled to handle. I find it hard to believe that this kid showed absolutely no symptoms and that his father had no idea how he felt until he murdered his stepmother.

  76. 76

    @geg6: @kormgar:

    I was just going to say sometimes something like this is an early sign of a sociopath, sometimes. So it is not an easy call. imo.

  77. 77
    Bret says:

    If only the fetus had a gun, it would have been able to defend itself.

  78. 78
    geg6 says:

    Mnemosyne @74: I don’t pretend to know what happened to this kid and I don’t remember why his mother is not in the picture (possibly deceased, but not positive). But the story is that he seemed fine until the pregnancy. Everyone says he became very resentful at the idea of another child in the home.

  79. 79
    Mnemosyne says:

    One last thing: remember that shocking case in Chicago where two boys, ages 7 and 8, confessed to murdering an 11-year-old girl? You know, the one where it turned out that she had been raped and murdered by an adult and the kids were coerced into confessing to the crime by the police.

    Considering the ages of the children — the two witnesses are 4 and 7 years old — it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that the kid is actually innocent. Police don’t realize how easy it is for them to get a “confession” from a child who’s eager to please an authority figure.

  80. 80
    tenkindsofgrumpy says:

    I loves my “youth model 20ga. shotgun, and I’m 70. trying an 11 y/old offender as an adult? Sorry that’s barbaric and oh so Texas.

  81. 81
    Mnemosyne says:

    @geg6:

    But the story is that he seemed fine until the pregnancy. Everyone says he became very resentful at the idea of another child in the home.

    I’ve been Googling articles about the case and it looks like it’s the victim’s family who says he was angry and resentful. At least some of the neighbors say that he was looking forward to the baby’s birth.

    There’s something really weird about this case. Either the kid had a lot of problems that people just overlooked or he didn’t do it. Even if he was a murderous psychopath at 11, he would have shown at least a few signs of it prior to this.

  82. 82
    geg6 says:

    Mnemosyne @78: Dude. Talk about grasping at straws. Um, no. There was no mysterious intruder and dad didn’t do it. The kid did it. I am quite sure his defense team will not be bringing up some other murderer, unless they think they can pin it on one of her little daughters, who were like 8 and 4 or 5 at the time. There is no evidence to back up your theory.

  83. 83
    geg6 says:

    And I’m sorry, Mnemosyne, but I have been following this story for over a year, up close and personal and even know some of the people who are involved in this in various ways. Your investigation and defense advocacy via the Google impress me about as much as Frist’s diagnostic abilities via videotape.

  84. 84
    Mnemosyne says:

    @geg6:

    You really don’t find anything at all strange in the fact that a kid with no prior behavioral problems would suddenly shoot his stepmother in the back of the head with a shotgun?

    Either there are going to be a whole lot of revelations about this kid having serious mental and behavioral problems prior to this, or it didn’t happen the way the police say it did.

  85. 85
    kormgar says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Not necessarily.

    Although a healthy environment is more likely to produce healthy and well-adjusted children, it is no guarantee.

    The kid might be a budding sociopath, which can be due to genetic or environmental factors, or some combination of both.

  86. 86
    Mnemosyne says:

    @geg6:

    The Chicago police were absolutely convinced that they’d found the killers when they arrested those two little boys and it was only the discovery that the girl had been raped by someone who left semen on her body that they reluctantly admitted they had been wrong. Even then, for quite a while they were convinced that the boys had killed her and the adult just happened to come along and rape her dead body.

    It is very, very easy to get false testimony from children without even meaning to do it. Or are you one of those people who still believes that the McMartin preschool kids really were flown in hot-air balloons to watch zoo animals being killed because that’s what the kids told police had happened?

    Again: children do not have zero behavioral problems and then shoot people dead. It does not happen. Either this kid had very serious problems that his family was in denial about, or something weird is going on.

  87. 87
    geg6 says:

    Mnemosyne: Of course I find it strange. And terrible for everyone involved. And I’m torn about what to do about this kid. But you insist that everyone who murders is a victim of some sort. And I know that isn’t true. There are, even in the psychiatric literature, people who kill with no apparent background to explain it. It’s terrible to have to accept that, but it is true. Humans suck, often, even the little ones sometimes. Doesn’t mean I want him in prison for life from age 12, but society does not need more sociopaths running around free either.

  88. 88
    Cain says:

    I will say that we seem to have a lot of laws that take the job away from the judge to figure out what is the appropriate thing to do. Congress/prosecutors tend to take a hard line on everything. Does throwing this kid into jail really to the benfit of the society or can we save him?

    Clearly, this kid does not fully developed emotionally. But who knows, all this crap is just like how frist was trying to figure out if Schivao was a vegetable or not. We are no one to judge. The only reason we are commenting is that it is a tragedy and guns were involved.

    cain

  89. 89
    Mnemosyne says:

    @kormgar:

    The kid might be a budding sociopath, which can be due to genetic or environmental factors, or some combination of both.

    Sociopaths generally have a long history of behavioral problems that go back to childhood. Eleven is a pretty old age for a child to suddenly display symptoms of sociopathy out of nowhere.

    Which, as I said, makes me think that either the family was in total denial about a child who had serious issues or something weird is going on.

  90. 90
    geg6 says:

    In addition, you, Mnemosyne, seem to think that the only evidence they have on this kid is his confession and the testimony of the daughters. The physical evidence is pretty overwhelmingly against this boy. The defense will not be arguing that he didn’t do it. They will be arguing the same unpersuasive arguments you are here, but even they won’t be saying somebody else did it. Unless they’re idiots, that is. Because there is NO EVIDENCE to back that up. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

  91. 91
    Mnemosyne says:

    @geg6:

    But you insist that everyone who murders is a victim of some sort.

    Actually, I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying that children don’t murder people out of the blue with no sign of behavioral problems prior to the murder. I suppose this kid could be the first, but that seems a little unlikely.

  92. 92
    Keith G says:

    @kormgar: Still the professional literature talks in terms of repetition and tendencies. Sociopathy isn’t even diagnosed until age 18, if I remember (I worked with adolescents for 25 yrs, but it was a while ago). Conduct disorder is a common diagnosis with the population I worked with. Even that was based on a pattern of behavior.

    Horrible event, but odds are it did not happen in isolation.

  93. 93

    Look, there are some handful of folks who manage to be criminal with firearms – handful compared the number no so inclined. People will get hurt and killed by those handful. There is no doubt about that.

    What there seems doubt about, is what relative risks involve. You want the 1st, then you take what it involves and that is a shit load. People harp on the dangers of guns and conveniently ignore the goddam dinosaur in the room.

    Words save, words inspire, and words kill – and then there are the vehicles.

  94. 94

    I won’t make any assesment of what to do with a kid in a case that I’m marginally acquainted with – I do have an issue with legislatures mandating certain courses in trying and sentencing. People and crimes are individual, that is not something you can get to with legislation and it is one reason we have judges.

    Diagnoses from commenters is probably a hell of a lot less useful than a legislature and surely less accurate.

  95. 95
    Maude says:

    @geg6: The fear of being replaced by the baby is classic. Someone with no conscience think that it’s perfectly reasonable to kill the replacement.

  96. 96
    Cain says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    I won’t make any assesment of what to do with a kid in a case that I’m marginally acquainted with – I do have an issue with legislatures mandating certain courses in trying and sentencing. People and crimes are individual, that is not something you can get to with legislation and it is one reason we have judges

    Indeed. I agree completely. See above. The judge should weigh everything and not let legislatures try to figure out every possible angle on a murder case.

    cain

  97. 97

    Something for the non-hunters out there, once you’ve killed an animal there is no doubt in your mind what is going on. Something that was alive no longer is and there is blood; and field dressing involves guts. Somehow, an animal is smaller when it is dead and it loses its beauty given by animation. It is now food.

    Be under no illusions about the capacity of an 11 yr old who has killed an animal or been there when one was to understand dead. The reaction to dead may be pretty individual, but there is no doubt. It isn’t the imaginary world where meat comes in plastic wrap.

  98. 98
    Jay C says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    @Chad S: Your hysteria and pants-shitting terror of 12-year olds is duly noted.

    Sorry, Moar: but when said 12-year old is pointing a loaded shotgun (whether a “youth model” or otherwise) at you, maybe just a little trepidation is to be expected….

  99. 99
    Paul in KY says:

    IMO, if the child did this (with malice aforethought killed the woman) and he was 18 or older, then I would want him executed.

    Now, he is 12. Can’t execute (nor should you) a 12 year old. If he did the crime, then he should serve a long sentence somewhere (at least 30 years). The sentence could be reduced somewhat, only if he accepts complete responsibility for his actions.

    I would think that there was some inkling somewhere that he either is a sociopath of some type or was extremely upset by the impending marriage/birth. If not, then it should at least be checked into that he is either covering for the real murderer or was influenced by another party into commiting the crime.

  100. 100
    liberty60 says:

    a href=”#comment-1658450″>Loneoak:

    You have to believe some people make terrible mistakes and can be redeemed.

    Pardon me, you DFH, but this is a Christian nation; we don’t believe in any of that “Redemption” crap.

    @Luthe:

    that the pre-frontal lobes, which are the decision making centers of the brain, don’t fully develop until age 25. The kid is half that. There is absolutely no way he is fit to stand trial as an adult. He doesn’t have the cognitive development for it.

    This is probably why almost all human societies have held ritual initiations, around the age of 13-16, to mark the dividing line between childhood and adulthood. They understood that children don’t yet have the moral capacity to understand long term consequences of actions.

    Lets be clear; our society is not going to treat this boy like an adult. We will treat him like a stray dog to be swept out of sight as swiftly as possible, never to be seen again.

    Embarrassing questions, like how did an 11 year old child develop such anger and lack of empathy, will be disregarded. We will pretend as though this enraged 11 year suddenly appeared by magic out of nowhere, fully formed, by what miracle we can’t explain.

    How we treat children has more to do with our own agendas, than acting towards what is in the children’s best interest. We treat them as children, or adults, mostly depending on what is convenient and comfort-inducing to adults.

  101. 101
    pylon says:

    That this boy was only 12 does not remove or lessen that responsibility in any way, and in fact, if anyone wants to legally absolve him of his guilt to any degree, it needs to be in turn laid upon whomever gave/allowed him access to the weapon.

    Actually, it does lessen his responsibility in most civilized societies, since they recognize that children are incapapable of fully comprehending the consequences of their actions.

    And no one here has mentioned absolving the kid of anything – just not treating him like an adult, which he isn’t.

  102. 102
    Original Lee says:

    @geg6: In your defense, I believe that in extreme cases that there can be no obvious signs until the kid pulls the trigger. In my hometown, there was a kid a few years younger than I who murdered several people who pissed him off. He was a solid-B student, on the track team, belonged to several clubs, and so on. His parents were nice people, devoted to him and his sister, provided stable home as far as anybody on the outside could tell. He was a personable kid. But apparently he never showed how pissed off he was when he didn’t get his way (some kind of affect disorder, maybe), so nobody had a clue that he was secretly plotting how to eliminate various people in his life until he had already committed three murders. Not only did he have a hit list, but he also planned each crime out in a notebook that he kept in his backpack. And he thought he would only get sent to Juvi because he was under 14, not knowing that the state had passed a law similar to PA’s the previous year. He was very angry when he found out he would be charged as an adult and allegedly yelled that he should have started earlier. So I believe it is possible that there were no signs that his behavior was abnormal enough to warn anyone.

  103. 103
    Sam Gamgee says:

    @Mike Kay <– Comment of the year.

  104. 104
    Atreides says:

    @beltane:
    We also wouldn’t have any kids anymore.

    Or at least a whole lot less of them.

  105. 105
    sunmountain says:

    I live in PA. He will probably go to a secure detention center for juveniles, then be transfered to a group home for the remainder of his sentence, as long as he exhibits good behavior. He won’t be put in prison with adults.

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