13 yo in the US could be jailed for life for murder without the possibility of parole

(39 Posts)
winnybella Wed 26-Jan-11 13:57:55

www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/25/us-boy-accuse d-murder-appeals

He was 11 at the time of the crime.

While obviously he did a horrible thing, surely it's wrong to imprison a child for life?

What are your thoughts on it?

winnybella Wed 26-Jan-11 14:08:18

.

Bramshott Wed 26-Jan-11 14:16:54

Hideous. sad

ConnorTraceptive Wed 26-Jan-11 14:22:29

Tough one. You've got to wonder what was going on his life to make him do something like that.

I'm not sure this should be about appropriate punishment for a child but about treatment for whatever mental health issues he has.

As for how long he should be imprisoned well I guess that's a matter of when it is safe for him to be released.

Unfortunately there is not nearly enough background on this story understand how the hell it happened and why.

Would love to know when America is going to wake up and see how fucked up their gun culture is. I mean a shot gun for an 11 year old FFS

LoopyLoopsHasComeBackBrighter Wed 26-Jan-11 14:50:04

Wow. Not sure what my thoughts are really, apart from general fear of the US legal system in general.

LoopyLoopsHasComeBackBrighter Wed 26-Jan-11 14:52:49

Lots of general there, sorry! blush

BadgersPaws Wed 26-Jan-11 15:19:35

"Would love to know when America is going to wake up and see how fucked up their gun culture is. I mean a shot gun for an 11 year old FFS"

The UK doesn't have an age limit for shotgun licenses, children can and do have licenses for them...

news.bbc.co.uk/local/kent/hi/people_and_places/new sid_8396000/8396209.stm

wannaBe Wed 26-Jan-11 15:29:51

well, there are plenty of people on mn who think that james bulger's killers should have been locked up for life.

Personally i think that it's a sad society that feels it's ok to give up on a child, any child, for the rest of its life..

Saltatrix Wed 26-Jan-11 15:35:32

Locked up for life that's harsh for an 11 year old, but then again it is the US they only got rid of the death penalty for under 18s 5 years ago.

SummerRain Wed 26-Jan-11 16:15:11

I don't know... I'm pretty sure 99% of 11 year olds, especially ones trained to use a gun, know what death is and understand the physical consequences of shooting someone in the head.

They also know that guns can be traced and the punishment for murder is severe.

So either he has learning difficulties and/or other SN which need addressing and he needs round the clock care and monitoring or he's a psychopath who lack emotional attachment and doesn't care about the consequences and probably should be locked up.

That poor baby, the mother probably died quite quickly but a full term baby could have been saved if he'd just rung an ambulance before walking out the door sad

winnybella Wed 26-Jan-11 21:52:28

Hmm.I see what you're saying, SummerRain.

I just doubt that any potential SN will be addressed- I seem to remember reading about many cases in the US where people with SN get death penalty-mot sure they factor it in iyswim, unless very obvious.

superfrenchie1 Wed 26-Jan-11 23:16:19

Woah. that's horrific all round. Terrifying.

But no, it's wrong to try this kid in an adult court and send him to prison for life. I don't have a better solution; I just think it's wrong. He needs to be treated as a minor.

minibmw2010 Thu 27-Jan-11 14:02:26

The boy killed the woman deliberately (it seems) and then went calmly onto school. I think at 11 he knew what he was doing so frankly he should be tried as an adult I think. I don't think its a case of anyone "giving up on him". I think its a case of he did something truly hideous, a terrible crime and he has to learn there are consequences. His age alone does not make it OK to be lenient when a woman and her nearly full-term baby have died.

trebleclef Thu 27-Jan-11 17:48:52

It's incredible that this boy had access to ammunition at home. We have a weird gun laws in the UK too - kids under 18 are allowed to fire shotguns as long as they're under adult supervision. Last I read on the BBC there were about 1000 under-18's with firearms licences, including as young as TEN ! Why did we believe everything would change after the Dunblane tragedy?...

StellaRose11 Thu 27-Jan-11 18:40:58

I agree with SummerRain and minibmw2010, the boy understood the consequences of his cold blooded, murdeous act. At 11 I understood life and death, right from wrong. If he has any learning difficulties don't you think that would be flaged by now in court and in the news. The wild west each to their own gun (amongst others) culture enjoyed by a lot of Americans has given their children disregard for human life. I know an American who gets a gun because he's too afraid not to, since everyone on his street has one. My partner's aunty was raped in broad day light at gun point with people passing and nobody helped her. She committed suicide not long after. The point is the US is a dangerous place, people toughen up, become desensitised with crime, and committing crime, and that applies to children AND adults. So perhaps their systematic errors have infiltrated society from the roots, only systematic change in culture and education can bring about a balance, that or just lock them away.

zozzle Fri 28-Jan-11 09:59:18

Terrible act of course however he is a minor and should therefore be treated as one.

I agree ConnorT - you have to ask the question what has happened to this boy in his childhood for him to do this - either that or he is mentally ill (or both). That doen't excuse his actions but might go some way to explaining them.

The gun laws in the US are obviously completely bonkers!

The Bulger case showed that many people seem to demonize child killers more than adult killers - which also is completely bonkers!
An appropriate punishment is of course needed here but as a Christian I believe no one is beyond redemption.

Dropdeadfred Fri 28-Jan-11 10:02:43

He took two lives in cold blood...why should he enjoy his? (his is no taking into account if he did have mental healh issues as his defence does not seem to be arguing that point)

PaulaMummyKnowsBest Fri 28-Jan-11 13:22:10

I'm sorry but if you ask a child of that age "What would happen if you shot a lady in the head with a real gun?", I suspect that most children would say "The lady would die".

Whether this child realised the baby would die too is unknown but it is a horrific crime that needs to be punished.

johsibo Fri 28-Jan-11 15:45:40

"life means life" as they say.
Fair enough as he took not only the womans but the babys too.

11 is old enough to know what is a gun and what it does and what is wrong and what is right.

It´s hard when you think that this boy also is someones child. How it must have been (and will forever be) hard for his father to lose his fiancee and his new baby and now to another child too but in the end I think this way is the best.

begonyabampot Fri 28-Jan-11 15:52:54

Stella Rose don't agree that America is a dangerous place and the people are desensitised to crime, some perhaps but you I doubt it's any more than here. Much of america is very family orientated with deep set religious beliefs - it has it's criminals but what you described about this poor woman, could happen as easily here and has.

Pesha Fri 28-Jan-11 16:21:39

I'm shocked that there are so many people here who think an 11yo should be tried as an adult. Are these the same people who think 11 is too young to be left alone or allowed to cross busy roads on their own or go to the cinema alone?!

At 11 yo a child is not old enough get a job or live alone or drive a car or any other adult thing because they are a CHILD, they are not responsible enough, they don't understand the rules and complexities of adult life and cannot be relied upon to keep themselves and others safe.

Yes they may have a fairly well developed understanding of right and wrong and of what death is but not to the same extent as an adult.

A lot of 11 yos are still at primary school ffs. They are children and still have so much learning and growing to do.

What this boy did was a terrible thing, I don't for one second deny that but the fact is he WAS a child and should be treated as such.

As others have said I really do wonder what had happened to this boy to bring him to a point where he could commit such a crime.

Am also disgusted at the idea of a gun made specifically for children and the fact that, in America, here or any other country, a child can have their own gun - a weapon designed for no other reason than to cause death. sad

Ormirian Fri 28-Jan-11 16:24:42

"Are these the same people who think 11 is too young to be left alone or allowed to cross busy roads on their own or go to the cinema alone?!"

Good question pesha.

No child should face the rest of his life in jail.

It's a difficult one. As others have said it's hard to judge when we have no background story about the boy.

The rest of his life in prison, well that could be 80 years couldn't it? That's a hell of a long time.
But you have to stike a balance don't you. it wouldn't be fair for him to basically get away with it like those two pieces of shit that killed James Bulger did.

He could be given 30 years and still have some sort of life when he comes out.
but like I've said it's hard to judge.

wubblybubbly Fri 28-Jan-11 19:23:31

At risk of stating the obvious, this child is guilty of nothing - he hasn't faced trial yet.

It seems ridiculous that a child is automatically treated as an adult, WTF? He was 11 years old.

Should a child victim was expected to face cross examination in the same as an adult would?

Great post pesha.

SummerRain Fri 28-Jan-11 19:34:40

Pesha, I was doing all those things at 11 and was babysitting my cousins at 12. So based on my own abilities, responsibility and awareness at that age I would assume a child of 11 to be capable of understanding the consequences of his actions in this instance. Unless of course there are mental health issues or SN in play, which seems unlikely as surely such information would be used in his defense?

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