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When a Child Turns to Murder

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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.

child murderer house

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.



next: Leash Up, Kid
11 comments so far | Post a comment now
Melissa November 10, 2008, 9:56 PM

It is really sad that nobody noticed the warning signs, like the domestic violence calls. I can’t begin to imagine an eight year old killing an adult. There had to be a reason, like abuse. I don’t believe that an eight year old has the mental capacity to be charged as an adult either. Developmentally, they can’t even be held responsible. This is unbelievable.

Jamie November 11, 2008, 5:57 AM

The dead father’s corpse should be prosecuted for allowing an 8-year-old access to a gun. The Arizona authorities have completely lost their minds in this case, and I think it’s disgusting.

Maxine November 11, 2008, 7:59 AM

Holding an 8 yr old responsible for murder? Has Arizona lost its’ mind? What message are they trying to convey? Since the father is dead, the mother or guardian should be held responsible and charged. This is another example of society’s loose moral standards when it comes to sex and not taking full parental responsiblility for your actions. Divorce is not an excuse.

Lynn November 11, 2008, 1:33 PM

The child probably did not commit the murders. In all recent cases 8 year olds that have confessed to murder have later been found to be false confessions. This link to the huffington post documents false confessions from 8 yr olds. the murderer is still at large

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-warden/historically-eight-year-o_b_142424.html

Jay November 11, 2008, 7:29 PM

Stop the blame game and recognize this case for what it is - a horrific example of a bad seed finally sprouted.

False confessions? Please. The Puffington Host is hardly an impartial source.

Charge the mother, who does not even have custody of the kid? Have you lost YOUR mind, Maxine?

Prosecute the deceased father? Brilliant. Yes, let’s blame dead victims and inaninmate objects for this tragedy.

Jay November 11, 2008, 7:42 PM

Checked your link, Lynn, and your information’s a bit off. The article doesn’t “document” anything; it simply cites two cases which occurred 40 years apart (10 and 50 years ago, so hardly “all recent cases”). No documentation is offered. Also, nowhere does the author claim that these two incidents represent all cases of 8-year-olds charged with homicide. A little research will show that they are far from it.

Shannon November 19, 2008, 8:27 AM

you people are blaming the parents? Are you insane? Yes, lets take the blame off the child with the gun and blame the parents. So stupid. The child didn’t even seem worried in the confession tape. He’s just casually telling a story. Very sad. I think these children should be held more accountable. How many people, children and adults, have been killed in the past few years by other children? The boys in Jonesboro are free with their records sealed so that no one knows who they are or what they did. How fair is that? I think Arizona is on the right track, even if they find he was abused, that still doesn’t give him the right to kill someone. In the confession tapes, he said he was mad at his dad for not letting him do something…yeah that’s justification. Poor kid. Right. That’s what’s wrong with our society.

Shannon November 19, 2008, 8:28 AM

you people are blaming the parents? Are you insane? Yes, lets take the blame off the child with the gun and blame the parents. So stupid. The child didn’t even seem worried in the confession tape. He’s just casually telling a story. Very sad. I think these children should be held more accountable. How many people, children and adults, have been killed in the past few years by other children? The boys in Jonesboro are free with their records sealed so that no one knows who they are or what they did. How fair is that? I think Arizona is on the right track, even if they find he was abused, that still doesn’t give him the right to kill someone. In the confession tapes, he said he was mad at his dad for not letting him do something…yeah that’s justification. Poor kid. Right. That’s what’s wrong with our society.

Lynn November 20, 2008, 4:02 PM

Have you watched the entire tape? No, you’ve only seen a portion. In the beginning of the transcript from the tape, the boy repeatedly says he came home and found them that way. For at least a half hour! The police officer begins to suggest the child might have killed them, and even after the child kept denying this, he finally begins to say, “I think maybe I might have killed them”. That’s not a confession, it’s leading the witness. Have any of you ever held a shotgun and felt the kickback from it? This boy was small, and could barely manage that, if at all. You are all so anxious to blame without having anything but media facts. The real killer is still ot there, and is such a coward to let an 8 year old stand for their acts. Shame on all of you.

Frosty November 22, 2008, 11:08 AM

Shotgun? Lynn, the gun in question was a .22 rifle intended for a child, smaller than a standard rifle. Do you know anything about guns at all?

A .22 rifle is not a shotgun, it is the weapon most often used to teach children how to shoot. It was purchased for the child by his father, after consultation with his pastor. Dad was teaching him to hunt and questioned whether a pellet gun rather than a .22 should be the first weapon for the child.

A .22 would be a poor choice of weapon if you intend to commit suicide, the bullet is likely to rattle around in your head just enough to scramble your brain yet leave you alive. It’s a small caliber, low velocity weapon with little to no kick.

tabletki na pryszcze April 3, 2011, 7:19 AM

Very interesting info, i am waiting for more !!! Keep updating your website and you will have a lot o readers


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