When you think heinous crimes, you don’t typically think of children as the accused. It’s an odd thing when the innocence of a child meets the severity of something like murder. How do you punish someone who’s brain isn’t fully developed? Is it possible to redeem a child capable of a horrific crime when they can’t fully comprehend the severity of their actions? Read on to learn about the serious crimes committed by these children.
1. A 15-year-old boy murders his two adopted brothers
In May 2013, a 15-year-old Utah boy was babysitting his siblings while his mother was out (his father was active duty military and had been deployed in another state for several years at the time). When the mother returned, she found her adopted 4-year-old and 10-year-old boys stabbed to death in their home. Her 15-year-old boy was missing. Police later found him running about 5 miles away. They declined to comment on his mental state.
The boy ended up pleading guilty and is currently receiving counseling while in the juvenile system until he turns 21, at which point he’ll be transferred to prison and serve 15 years to life.
2. A 12-year-old boy shoots his mom over chores
A 12-year-old Arizona boy shot his mother to death over a chores dispute in 2009. The boy shot her eight times with a .22-calibur pistol. He knew how to use the gun because the mother’s boyfriend taught him “for emergencies and self defense.”
According to Digital Journal, Judge James Conlogue found the boy guilty, as a juvenile, for premeditated murder in the Cochise County Superior Court in the southern Arizona town of Bisbee.
3. Mary Bell, the 11-year-old serial killer
In 1968, Mary Bell killed two children with her bare hands (and a pair of scissors to mutilate one of the bodies). During the course of the investigation, police found Bell’s behavior to be “evasive” and suspicious early on. Bell was a troubled child with a horrible past who was often described as violent and dishonest.
When Bell’s friend and accomplice, Nora, told police that Bell was responsible for the murders, Mary was convicted of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility, in part due to the psychological assessment presented at the trial. Bell was considered psychopathic by various assessments.
You can read her full story in the book, Cries Unheard: Why Children Kill.
4. The ‘Medicine Hat Girl’
The “Medicine Hat Girl,” (named after where the murders took place) 12 at the time, killed her family with the help of her 23-year-old boyfriend. The girl testified that her boyfriend broke into her home, and ordered her to stab her family members before he finished them off. They then stole her mother’s purse and returned to the boyfriend’s trailer.
Because the two had had previous conversations about killing the girl’s family, they were both found guilty.
5. A 14-year-old boy shoots his mom while sleeping
A Detroit mother told her 14-year-old son that he couldn’t hang out with his friends anymore. Several hours later, in the middle of the night, the boy shot his mother to death with her fiancé’s gun.
The mother was on the living room couch while her fiancé slept with their 5-year-old daughter in the next room over.
In response, the Detroit mayor, Dave Bing, “asked Detroiters not to stand idly by while children become victims of crime. But at the same time, he demanded parents take more responsibility for their children’s actions.”
6. A 6-year-old boy shoots his classmate the day after she refused to kiss him
School shootings aren’t rare, but school shootings at the hand of a 6-year-old are. A young boy brought a gun and a knife to school one morning, and shot his classmate in the arm. The boy had a history of picking on the girl and the day prior had tried to give her a kiss only to be turned down. The bullet hit an artery and killed her.
7. A 15-year-old girl shoots her dad with a hunting bow because he took away her cellphone
When a 35-year-old single dad told his daughter that she was being grounded and having her cellphone privileges revoked, she responded by shooting him in the chest with a hunting bow.
The Tahyua, Wash. father was able to crawl out of a window, crawl into his car, and drive to the neighbor’s house to call for help.
Police found the daughter in a forest near her home; they said she “gave up willingly.”
8. 9-year-old girl stabs 11-year-old to death
In 2005, a 9-year-old girl fatally stabbed an 11-year-old girl in the chest with a kitchen knife, because of an argument over a ball. Unfortunately, the victim, Queen Washington, was pronounced dead at a hospital.
“I don’t understand how this could happen,” Joyce Porter, Queen’s grandmother, told The New York Times. She said Queen’s mother had called her earlier that afternoon. “She told me, ’Queen is dead,”’ Porter said, adding, “It was over a ball.”
9. 4-year-old shot his father
In Saudi Arabia, a 4-year-old shot his father on purpose. After requesting his father pick up a PlayStation when he went to the store, the 4-year-old grew angry when his father did not buy him the gaming console. He then went and grabbed his father’s gun and shot him to death.
10. Two young boys beat up and abused by two other young boys
The victims, ages 9 and 11, were robbed, sexually assaulted, and burned with cigarettes in Edlington, South Yorkshire. Two brothers in foster care, aged 12 and 10, lured two other boys to a semi-wild parkland on the edge of Edlington, a former pit village near Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
The two brothers attacked them with bricks, sticks, and a noose. The victims also suffered cigarette burns and were forced to perform a series of sexual acts on each other. The two victims managed to survive.
11. 11-year-old kills future stepmother
In 2009, Jordan Brown shot his soon-to-be stepmother dead while she was sleeping. She was also pregnant at the time and the baby died, too. He then boarded his school bus like it was any other normal day. The stepmother’s daughter found her body.
Prosecutors said Brown was jealous of the unborn baby since it was going to be named Chris, after Brown’s father. Brown was found guilty and charged as a juvenile. He was released in 2016 at the age of 18.
12. 14-year-old kills mother with a hammer
On Easter in 2011, Daniel Bartlam killed his own mother with a hammer while she was sleeping, and then set the house on fire.
“Initially, he claimed that a theiving burglar had hurt his mother and burnt the house,” explains Real Life Villains Wiki. “However, as investigators searched through his computer, they found evidence that he was searching things like ‘how to get away with murder’ and other related topics. He was immediately arrested and tried. Daniel Bartlam was sentenced to 16 years in a juvenile detention facility.”
13. Two 10-year-olds abduct and kill a 2-year-old
In 1993, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables abducted a 2-year-old from the local mall, James Bulger. The two boys took Bulger to a railroad track where they dropped him on his head and beat him with an iron bar and left him to die on the tracks.
At the time, Thompson and Venables became the youngest convicted murders in modern England. Both boys were released from prison in 2011, when they turned 18.
Additional reporting by Eric McWhinnie.
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