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Probable life sentence for a 13yo in the USA (warning: potentially distressing news story)

(149 Posts)
VivaLeBeaver Mon 17-Sep-12 19:20:00

here (MNHQ: link to details of potentially distressing news story)

I know what he did was awful and he's obviously got issues, previous incidents of a sexual nature, killing a cat, etc. but I can't think that this is right. This sounds like a boy who's been badly let down, exposed to horrible stuff, etc. I really hate to think of him spending the rest of his life in prison. He's a child, he needs help. He needed help before it got to this stage.

maytheoddsbeeverinyourfavour Tue 18-Sep-12 20:24:05

He has been so terribly failed in every way

But he is clearly a risk to others, it wasn't the first thing he had done. He is so damaged that he needs to be kept away from society for a very long time and helped if possible, though I don't think he should be anywhere near an adult prison

Poor little soul, he never stood a chance sad

Extrospektiv Fri 21-Sep-12 11:47:27

You're capable of knowing the difference between good and evil at 13. There's no need to treat him as a "child". It may be defined as under 18 for normal purposes, but the people who make these laws know exactly what they're doing, they consulted psychiatric etc. experts, and they decided if a young person 12-17 commits a murder or another big-time felony that is a special case, so they get tried as an adult and serve a proper punishment. They will still get a lower sentence than a full adult 18+ would.

It's not as if they make these laws just because they hate adolescents... they know quite well their brains aren't as developed, less life experience etc. They still have to get justice. I agree they don't belong in an adult prison if they're minors, though. That needs to be sorted.

All this about "brain doesn't develop fully until 23-25" well it's sufficiently developed to make decisions, it doesn't have to be complete

This is why I believe in proper juvenile justice. (not because I'm a right wing bigot as some people think, which I ain't)
When I was at first year secondary school there were a core of 5 kids- just calling them by numbers here- who were always causing trouble and they weren't punished properly. I went to SMT because they were bullying me and a few of my friends just for being intelligent (and spots/glasses in some of the others, but mainly for being in top set and having >95% attendance). They were also consistently disruptive but instead of expelling them or clamping down they were practically ignored.

I later found out (2 quickly who I befriended and got on with afterwards, the others over the course of some years):
1-in care since age 4, mum died and dad incapable of looking after him on his own,
2-(left school year 8) went into care & changed school, massive sexual abuse from father
3-(left school year 9) went to mother's & changed school, sexual abuse from father
4-with gran on section-20 since 5 because father died in suspicious circs and mum had a massive mental breakdown, she was still in a psychiatric home when the girl was 19 when I last heard from her.
5-terrible upbringing all round, was in my form but rarely saw her as she was bottom set for everything, yet her dramas were well known- bulimia, OD's, attempted suicide, first sex at 12 with older teen boy, etc.- lived with grandad and everyone thought dad had abused her but she wouldn't say even to police

Basically Senior Management were exculpating people for their misbehaviour just because they'd had a very bad home life, how unfair is that for the other pupils in their classes and the ones they bully?

The headmistress sounded like a proper Owen Jones/ Camilla Batmanghelidid/ Will Hutton before these people were even writing their anti-responsibility trash. She was alright, well into the higher rate tax band, 5 bedroom house and her husband was a fucking professor. But we had to get through our GCSE and A levels and then onto work or university and the disruptors weren't helping. So she was a right hypocrite.

Pontificatin' about "compassion" and "inclusion" like a left-wing reactionary maniac- when class teachers were EXCLUDED from being able to run an uninterrupted lesson, the bright pupils were EXCLUDED from reaching their potential, and there's nothing compassionate about making other people suffer (it's the opposite.)

/conservative rant over. Next rant will be a left-wing one against exploitative interest charged by "pay weekly shop" and cash advances... because I'm not a politician. I think if you care about the poor, "left-wing" economic policy is obviously better but "right-wing" education policy where you learn a non-dumbed-down curriculum, take tough exams on it, and no-one is allowed to misbehave is better too. Otherwise it's the less well off that suffer coz the rich would still have advantages even if private schools were (per impossibile) all banned

slug Fri 21-Sep-12 12:16:17

Do you even have children Extro?

Extrospektiv Fri 21-Sep-12 12:38:00

5 (11, 9, 2 5yo twins & 3) I'm 32

What's wrong with that? Should I not?

Extrospektiv Fri 21-Sep-12 12:50:56

slug I know you're an anti-conservative super extremist from some of your past comments, so don't imply other people shouldn't have children because of their conservative views on SOME issues (see the Politics post 5 mins later in which I bash the Tories and the greedy elements of the free market).

"Progressives" were the supporters of eugenics 90 years ago... Not liberal enough? Believe in God and parental rights? The Ministry of Truth will stop you having kids! shock

slug Fri 21-Sep-12 13:28:29

<<falls over laughing>>

You should meet my BF, the Marxist. Compared to him I'm a rabid conservative.

I just find the lack of human compassion or understanding in your posts a bit frightening.

slug Fri 21-Sep-12 13:31:11

I love the idea that "progressive" is an insult.

It was progressives who brought in the legislation that allowed you to:

get an education
Get divorced
Prosecute your husband (or indeed any man) for rape
Own property

I'm assuming you're female and white. If you are black you could also possibly add:
Freed you from slavery

Extrospektiv Fri 21-Sep-12 15:35:49

Progressive is not an insult IN GENERAL. I refer to the Progressive ERA (between fin-de-siecle 1895-1910 and the roaring twenties/inter war years) because that's when Eugenics was advocated by people such as HG Wells and Margaret Sanger, along with "scientific" racism.

Why do you think I said "90 years ago" ? I do not believe people who call themselves progressives today support eugenics in general! But when you asked me if I had any children it made me suspicious- like "what's wrong with that?" as I said.

I'm progressive on women's issues, hence in the past couple weeks alone I've called out rape jokes, victim blaming lines, use of gender based language/slurs and anti woman stereotyping. Some people have got angry, one male FB friend even asked "does she need a tampon?" when I posted a reasonable feminist status on their Wall. I've drawn attention to anti-domestic violence campaigns and complained at the lack of FGM prosecutions. I'm anti-porn and anti-prostitution.

I'm progressive on race, I went "undercover" a couple weeks ago at a nationalist breakaway group's meeting invited by an old friend who didn't know I was against it (I'm quite involved in politics but not been in touch for a while) and gathered sufficient evidence to prove the "we're not racist, we just love Britain" line they were peddling was BS as usual. I am now warning others who were interested to avoid the racist group even if they like the man behind it.

I applauded the Wisconsin judge's decision last week to strike down the stupid anti-unions law Walker the ultra-farrightist tried to push.

I have been avoiding and striking out against the kneejerk reactions to the Cregan incident (3 big ones: "bring back the DP for him", "leave the EU/HR act" and "arm all police officers routinely") as I find them too right wing and authoritarian. Death penalty, cops armed to the teeth and even more surveillance with no judges to tell Parliament to back down? No thanks.

Look at my post on payday loans on Politics I sort of mentioned. I wrote that out of ... shock horror... compassion for the poor. Progressive AND empathic.

I am conservative on education because I believe it is in the interests of everyone including AND ESPECIALLY the less well off.

Would you take back your slander now?

slug Fri 21-Sep-12 16:14:53

Ah, the interwar years. When women got the vote and the right to keep any money they earned.

I find it hard to think calling your comments on education as "slander" as a)as this is an anonymous forum and as such your reputation cannot be sullied, and b) slander refers to the spoken word. I suspect the term you were reaching for there is 'libel' which, again, is impossible to do in an anonymous forum.

Just a point, I have worked in education for most of my professional life. I know all about the difficulty of running lessons uninterrupted. However, it's fairly obvious from your comments that the nuances of teaching students with complex backgrounds probably eludes you. But consider if you will a student who is in the UK as a refugee. The behaviours learnt in a Somalian refugee camp may be deeply ingrained, not the least because aggression and quick violence may have been the very behaviours that meant that student survived long enough to make it to the UK. I'm sure you will agree that these very behaviours make it almost impossible to function normally within a UK school, but what are the options? Do we just label these students as violent thugs and relegate them to isolation units where they never learn the appropriate way to function in the UK? Do we expel them and deprive them of the education that will lift them out of poverty and contribute to society? Or do we exercise compassion and understanding and address the issues? Nobody with any experience in this field thinks there are quick and easy answers. It takes time and money (in terms of resourcing) to right the wrongs that have been done to these children.

And, it should be obvious, these are often the poorest members of our society. The poor you claim to have compassion for, yet are prepared to fling on the scrapheap. I assume from your comments that you are religious. (if not, I apologise) If so, how to you reconcile your seeming lack of compassion for the damaged in society with "Whatever you do unto the least of my children you do unto me"?

pointythings Fri 21-Sep-12 19:14:33

Extro what good will it possibly do anyone to put this boy in an adult prison? You'd have to keep him there for life, at enormous expense. Yes, the kind of very intense intervention he needs will also be expensive - but compared to 60 - 70 years of custody it's probably better value for money.

I have enormous problems with this case - IMO the mother should get he longer sentence and the harsher treatment, she was 24.

And I second all of those who are asking where the hell were social services!

Extrospektiv Sat 22-Sep-12 13:26:43

@Pointy- I said quite clearly that "if he's a minor he shouldn't go to adult prison".

It should be closer to the UK system, when cases like Mary Bell, the Bulger killing, the Edlington brothers and "F" (the 11 year old who violently raped his teacher in a special school) have been tried in adult court and led to indeterminate detention ("life sentence"), but the child still went to a children's / juvenile secure unit and it was NOT a whole-life tariff.

Life sentence with parole after (say) 15 years yes. Whole life tariff like the Yorkshire Ripper's or quadruple murderer and cop-killer Dale Cregan will almost certainly get, no.

@Slug- I believe in treating people mostly the same in a mainstream school. If a child is so damaged they can't behave properly (in any way, whether a refugee given an automatic gun at 8 years old and amphetamine "candies" to make them want to fight and told to kill by some Kony-style warlord, or a British born child who suffers years of sustained abuse from almost every relative in the families where there is an unbroken multi- generational cycle) then put them in isolation units, yes. Because the majority deserve better than having to put up with their violence, aggression and threats every day at school out of concern for "inclusion".

Plus these are very extreme cases. None of the five children I mentioned in the post you objected to had been through a civil war or a whole familial cycle of horror- yes, they'd been abused and/or bereaved early on in life and their circumstances were sad but they could have behaved themselves and school ought to try harder to make them do so.

As I said, it's not compassionate to make other people suffer, and to repeatedly make allowances for damaged children even when they hurt others clearly does this.

Extrospektiv Sat 22-Sep-12 13:30:18

Ohh and the "slander" was saying I lacked human compassion and understanding, for challenging SMT exculpationists.

AmberLeaf Sat 22-Sep-12 13:35:53

Ive been following this case for several months after I saw a group in support of Christian on facebook.

No way should he be being tried as an adult.

Social services should be hanging their heads in shame after not removing that boy from his appallingly damaging home when he was found wandering the streets at 2 years old.

After that didn't happen he just didn't stand a chance.

Japple Sat 22-Sep-12 14:47:54

I agree with you,Lilka.But I do know that had I been assaulted and gotten
pregnant by a Madman; my parents and grandparents would have done every-
Thing they Could to get that baby aborted,Out of me.Most of the "seriel Killers"
over here Cannot be rehabed.They are "Too bent".And evertime they Do let
Them out, more people get killed.I read on a crimepage that for every extra-
Long neighborhood Block...there are at least 14 seriel-killer types.We had a
Pastor in the next block that was found out and imprisoned many years ago.
I pray that young children can be saved through rehabilitation.

tigercametotea Sat 22-Sep-12 15:19:18

I have been following this case. Neighbours and school say he was a quiet shy and well mannered kid. I find it hard to believe that he would be capable of doing this. Do they have concrete evidence that it was him and not his mother who committed the crime? She says she was never around during both occasions when the baby got hurt. She must have a good alibi?

pumpkinsweetie Sat 22-Sep-12 18:10:18

To be fair he needs to be locked up for this cycle of abuse to discontinue or he may become an adult who sexually abuses his family and so on & so forth.
He must have lived an awful life but to beat his own 2 year old brother to death and sexually assualting a 5 year old -he needs to be punished and the way he has been brought up will haunt him forever making him a danger to society.
A 13 yo is old enough to understand not to do those things so i think the sentence is appropriate for what he did.

AmberLeaf Sat 22-Sep-12 18:14:06

Wasn't he 11 when it happened? hes been in custody for a while now.

He also didn't beat his brother to death, he injured him and his mother failed to get him medical attention which is why she is also on trial.

A 13 yo is old enough to understand not to do those things so i think the sentence is appropriate for what he did

The point is he has never understood not to do those things as it was all done to him too, that was his 'normal'

pumpkinsweetie Sat 22-Sep-12 18:16:57

But Amber, if he thinks these things are 'normal' what is to stop him from continuing with his behaviour on release
The rest of society would be at risk so one 13 year old boy can be released, i do not think that is fair on societies children as a whole!

AmberLeaf Sat 22-Sep-12 18:30:11

He doesn't need prison, he needs extensive counselling and ongoing therapy, that is what would stop the cycle from continuing.

Prison will do nothing for this boy and TBH he is equally the victim in this.

As for the rest of society being at risk if he was released, well did anyone give a shit about him before this happened? shockingly those that were in a position to rescue this child did nothing there were lots of opportunities to rescue him and yet he still remained in a grossly abusive home.

Do you think he should be jailed indefinitely? or released at some point? what sort of man do you think an american prison will make of him?

He is a victim. He was left by those with the power to help him to fester in an abusive home, he didn't stand a chance.

nankypeevy Sat 22-Sep-12 18:30:54


The pinnacle of the free world.

Where they'd like to deny women basic human rights, execute the mentally ill and don't care for their poor and sick.

And, now? Now they put children in chains.

Jesus wept.

Shagmundfreud Sat 22-Sep-12 18:32:23

I find it hard to get my head around how a supposedly civilised country can treat a child like this.


That boy needs intensive therapy. Yes in a safe and controlled environment. But he needs help.

Extrospektiv Sat 22-Sep-12 21:10:09

Amber, he needs punishing and he is not a victim. Your exculpationism has no regard for basic morality.

The idea someone should not be punished because they are a "child" is fucking sick.

pointythings Sat 22-Sep-12 21:24:37

Extro he is a victim - of his upbringing, of the absolute failure of the authorities to remove him from his environment when they had the opportunity to do so. He has done a heinous thing, but he is not the only culpable person or group, just one of many.

As for punishment - he will lose his liberty. That is right, he should, because he is clearly not safe to be free. However, where do you draw the line between punishment for a crime and senseless vengeance? No-one is arguing that he should not be punished simply because he is a child, we are all suggesting a more nuanced approach which acknowledges the reasons why this boy has turned out the way he has.

I hope that he will not be sent to an adult prison, and that in a juvenile facility he will get the therapy he needs and also deserves. No-one benefits from just locking this boy up and throwing away the key. Lock him up without therapy and support and he will simply come out (if he ever does) much worse and much more dangerous. If that is OK with you then you should probably be arguing for a bullet to the back of the head as that would actually be kinder. sad. It is not OK with the rest of us.

AmberLeaf Sat 22-Sep-12 21:30:19

How can you say he is not a victim? seriously?

If you had regard for basic morality then you would see that he is a victim of gross lifelong (all 13 years of it) abuse.

The idea someone should not be punished because they are a "child" is fucking sick

What's fucking sick, is what this child endured for years despite authorities being aware of the situation.

Staggered that you don't think he is a victim confused

girliefriend Sat 22-Sep-12 21:41:03

America - shame on you, the services that failed him (and his mother and probably her mother as well) are entirely responsible for this depressingly predictable and tragic outcome sad sad sad

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