Blogs > Frye on the News

Keeping his eye on the news and offering commentaries and insights on what is happening in Oakland County, around the world, on the tube and in the news.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Another child facing life

In what has become a point of interest in Oakland County, another
child faces a potential life sentence for murder.
This time it is in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged an 11-
year-old boy as an adult, accusing him of killing his father's
pregnant girlfriend. According to an Associated Press story,
prosecutors point out that the boy had threatened the girlfriend, 26,
prior to the shooting and jealousy is a possible motive.
While it's easy to say that if someone were 18 and committed such a
crime, when they are 11, can they form the same premeditation and
intent as an adult?
I don't know, but it seems to be an important difference. The boy's
attorneys will seek to have the case sent to juvenile court, but if
it ends there, the boy will grow into a young man and be freed at 21,
no matter how his rehabilitation goes, this depending of course on if
he is convicted of the charge.
While my 4-year-old is showing incredible savvy in making up excuses
and getting around directives (for instance, the command to stop
throwing snowballs was ignored after she saw that Baby Tiger was on
my back causing mischief, an excuse that tickled me because it was a
new form of cleverness expressed by her), some suggest a child cannot
register the intent and premeditation, and they cannot appreciate the
consequences for their actions.
Here, many believe that Nathaniel Abraham, who killed at age 11 in
1997, never had a chance at success as an adult even though he was
deemed a juvenile. Many defended his fall — sent to prison after
being arrested with hundreds of ecstasy pills, just over a year after
his release from juvenile custody — as coming from a life that saw
much of his childhood spent in custody.
So then if the child is deemed a child, can he or she truly be
It's a tough one and one case for which I would not want to be a juror.


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