What causes a person to want to take the life of another? And at what age does a person have the thought process to want to do such a thing? Since the beginning of time, those are questions that have gone unanswered. It appears that the majority of murderers are over the age of eighteen, yet there are children who have gotten the urge to kill and have done so. Records that date back from the early 1920s, state that children as young as six years old are capable of such horrid crimes against other human beings. Does the upbringing of a child determine whether they will want to murder another? In some cases, it is obvious that a youngster may just be repeating what he (or she) has been brought up to believe is “normal” behavior, yet there are other cases where a child has just simply made a mistake and did not realize the magnitude of their actions. For hundreds of years, society has not known exactly how old a child is when they know exactly what they are doing and how they should be accountable.
It is unclear as to what someone is thinking when they want to kill someone, and it is unfortunate that there are children out there who believe that it is an acceptable comportment. It is not suitable to think that society is to blame, since televisions were not around 100 years ago, and there was no way for children to be “acting out” what they had seen from TV or movies. On the other hand, there are some children who have acted out what they thought was the right thing to do, for fear of what may or may not happen. In May 2014, two twelve year-old girls stabbed another girl because they believed that the fictional character Slenderman, had told them to do so. The girl survived the nineteen times that she was stabbed, and the two were arrested for attempted murder. Most of the youngsters in this article have had dreadful home situations, while others seemed like perfectly normal children. How do we really know what is going through a child’s brain?
10 & 12) Catherine and Curtis Jones, 12 and 13 Years Old
Catherine Jones was just thirteen years old when she decided to tell her younger brother about the abuse that she had been enduring from a close relative. They both had lived with their father and his girlfriend, along with an un-named person who had been abusing Catherine for years. She could no longer keep her secret and after telling her twelve year old brother, Curtis, he confided that he was being abused, as well.
Both children told child welfare workers, their father and their dad’s girlfriend, Nicole Speights, about the abuse. Their mother had left the kids with their father years before, and everyone else that they told did not believe the children’s allegations. So they decided to take matters into their own hands. The kids planned to kill their assaulter, along with their dad and his girlfriend, for letting it continue. On a cold morning in early 1999, the children took their dad’s personal gun and fired shots; which killed his girlfriend. They were sentenced to eighteen years in prison and will spend the rest of their lives on probation. They were not given a hearing, and they never got to testify in court. According to USAToday, Catherine and Curtis were “the youngest children in the country's history to be charged as adults for first-degree murder.”
9 & 10) Andrew Golden (11 Years Old) and Mitchell Johnson (13 Years Old)
Andrew Golden and Mitchell Johnson were cousins, but were not really friends in middle school. They may have been related, but they just didn’t “hang out” while they were in school, given their grade differences. Thirteen year-old Mitchell got in touch with his cousin one day to see if he could help him frighten a few kids who were making fun of him. Both of the kids had had family issues; Andrew had just broken up with his girlfriend, he had educational problems, and his life was already appearing to be corrupted. They mutually had access to shotguns, and knew how to use them because they were hunters.
One Tuesday in March 1998, Mitchell stole his parent’s minivan and then proceeded to pick up his cousin. Both boys then took many firearms and a lot of camping gear out of Andrew’s house and put it all into the vehicle before driving to Jonesboro's West Side Middle School in Arkansas. They then pulled an alarm, knowing that everyone would have to exit the building, and opened fire. Andrew and Mitchell, ages eleven and thirteen, killed four of their classmates and a teacher that day. Neither boy was tried as an adult, so each convict was released on their 21st birthday. Andrew has had a hard time finding employment, but Mitchell was arrested again and is now serving time in an adult prison.
8 Christian Fernandez, 12 Years old
In 1999, twelve year-old Biannela Susana was sexually assaulted and ended up pregnant. Nine months later, she gave birth to Christian Fernandez. Two years later, little Christian was found naked while walking around the streets of Florida, while his grandmother was busy taking illegal narcotics. He had been abused; sexually, verbally and emotionally during his lifetime, and had even seen his stepfather shoot himself as a young child. Growing up like this, it was only inevitable that something horrible would happen. And it did. When Christian was thirteen, he was left alone with his younger siblings and lost complete control. He ended up beating his little brother to death; who was only two years old at the time.
When he was eight, his school had reported that he had killed an animal while on school property, and had done other things that a child of that age would not normally do while in a public place (or any other place, for that matter). His mother was also charged in the murder of her young son, as she waited eight hours to call for an ambulance after she came home and found her two year-old bludgeoned to death.
7 Lionel Tate, 12 Years Old
Lionel Tate was twelve years old, and an intense fan of professional wrestling. In July 1999, Lionel was playing with six year-old Tiffany Eunick, when he tried to imitate some wrestling moves he had seen Dwayne Johnson perform on television. He stomped on Tiffany so hard that it resulted in killing her, and was sentenced to life in prison for first degree murder two years later.
Three years after his conviction, Lionel’s sentence was reduced and he was set free in 2004, with the understanding that he would be under house arrest and probation for ten years. The freedom didn’t last long for Lionel, as he was arrested again in 2006 for violation of the agreement and robbed a pizza man while he was out on delivery at two in the morning.
6 Jordan Brown, 11 Years Old
Jordan Brown does not fit the profile for most of the children who end up killers. He was eleven years old when he was arrested, and then convicted of murdering his father’s fiance, Kenzie Houk. Jordan was a typical eleven year old boy; he had a lot of friends, rode his bike, played football and went hunting with his dad on occasional weekends. Family members and friends of Jordan say that he was always polite and well-mannered, as well. One Easter, Jordan had received a hunting rifle that was made specifically for a young person. This rifle was said to be the one that was used for the murder; however, it was never actually proven.
Kenzie Houk was a little over eight months pregnant, and lived with Jordan’s father and her two young daughters. Sources state that an ex-boyfriend of Kenzie’s was stalking her, and there was a restraining order issued a year previous to Kenzie’s homicide. Even though there was gun powder residue found on Jordan’s small shotgun, it technically couldn’t be proven that he was the one who shot it, and he also had been out shooting the gun with his father the weekend before. There was a lot of evidence that could be argued that would prove Jordan’s innocence, but he is currently serving a sentence in Juvenile detention until he reaches the age of 21 years old. Jordan was convicted of two homicides, since his would-be stepmother was pregnant. He was deprived of a new trial, and has continually denied any involvement with the murder, at all.
5 Mary Bell, 11 Years Old
Mary Bell was one day away from turning eleven years old, when she and her friend decided to take the life of a young child. On May 25, 1968, Mary strangled a four year-old boy because she wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone. She was also convicted of strangling a three year-old within a few weeks after the first murder. At eleven years old, the young girl was sentenced to a life in a detention center in the United Kingdom.
Mary didn’t know any other life, and at 21 she was released from prison into an unknown world. At one point, she had escaped from jail, but decided that she did not know how to function in the “real world,” and started pilfering so she could get back to a life she knew. She is now a free woman, but has since gotten a new name and identity. At around 58 years old, Mary is a grandmother, but her whereabouts are unknown.
4 & 4) Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, 10 Years Old
James Patrick Bulger, a two year-old toddler from the United Kingdom was shopping with his mother in 1993, when he was abducted by Jon Venables and Robert Thompson. The two young boys were skipping school when they spotted young James out with his mom and decided to torture him and eventually kill him by beating the poor child with bricks and rocks. He was later found on the railroad tracks and the two boys were convicted of murder. One of the boys has been released since he reached the age of eighteen, and was given a new name and identity, while the other one has returned back to prison since being freed from jail.
3 Amarjeet Sada, 8 Years Old
In 2007, eight year-old Amarjeet Sada was living in Bihar, India with his family when he took the lives of three younger playmates; including his little sister and a cousin. They were all less than a year old when it happened. The first child he killed was in a crib, in which he took into the woods and beat her to death. He then went on to brutally murder his younger sister and his cousin, as well; in which his family helped him escape charges for a while. The authorities finally realized that this young serial killer was behind the gruesome activities, and Amarjeet was imprisoned. The law in India states that children are to be released from prison at the age of 18, since children are not allowed to be charged with murder. Amarjeet will be free in 2017.
2 Dedric Darnell Owens, 6 Years Old
Kayla Raland was six years old when she was fatally shot by classmate, Dedric Darnell Owens. He had found a pistol at his uncle’s house and took it to school, where he shot Kayla; almost instantly killing her. He did not realize how bad it was, and threw the gun away after the shooting. Dedric was never formally charged with Kayla’s death, but the owner of the pistol was charged with “involuntary manslaughter,” according to sources. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, along with two others that are unknown.
1 Carl Newton Mahan, 6 Years Old
Young Carl Newton Mahan was living in east Kentucky with his family who did not have a lot of money. In order to make ends meet, he and his friend would try to find things to sell for money to help out their families. On May 18, 1929, Carl and Cecil (who were eight years old) had found the same piece of metal that they were going to sell, and began fighting. Carl hit Cecil in the face with it, and ran home. Cecil followed Carl, hoping to get the piece of metal, and Carl told him that he was going to shoot him. Carl kept his word and ended up killing his friend. The court was confused about what to do with him, since he was so young, and the young boy was released to his parents and sent to a reform school.
Sources: psychologytoday.com, nbcnews.com, usatoday.com, arktimes.com, popcrunch.com, cbsnews.com, abcnews.go.com, nytimes.com, www.cnn.com, people.com, dailymail.co.uk, bbc.co.uk, telegraph.co.uk, theguardian.com, enquirer.com
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