Parents everywhere are still in shock over the 8-year-old Arizona boy who shot and killed his father and his father's friend -- execution style. While no motive has been revealed, some are speculating abuse must have been a factor. The boy, who faces two counts of premeditated murder, had absolutely no record of any behavioral problems -- legally or at school.
Former prosecutor Wendy Murphy told the Early Show, "In Arizona you can be prosecuted in adult court at age 8. That's not true in most other states. I think if it comes out this child was being abused, that he was desperate, this was his only way of defending himself against some terrible things there happening, you don't see a lot of public sympathy for keeping him in the juvenile justice system."
We asked momlogic contributor marriage and family therapist Shannon Fox to help us get into the mind of an abused child to understand what could possibly lead to such an unthinkable act. Fox says children who kill usually fall into one of three categories:
1. Abused: It's estimated that 90% of children who kill were severely abused. They don't have a history of other disruptive behavior, but often times have tried to tell someone in authority about the abuse. When no one comes to their rescue, they might see murder as the only escape from a terrible situation.
2. Mental disorder: If a child is suffering from paranoia, they might be so distanced from reality that they commit murder without realizing exactly what is going on. This is extremely rare and would usually be identified earlier by teachers or other children who thought the child strange.
3. Antisocial: Most commonly referred to as sociopaths, these children have a history of disregard for authority. They might kill as a means of getting something they want. They will typically show no remorse or fear of consequences.
The fact that this boy doesn't have a history of any behavior problems at school indicates that he is not anti-social. In addition, local police revealed they had received reports of domestic violence from the house in the past.