In one of the higher profile murder trials to have hit then news in some time, a 12 year-old boy who shot and killed his own father two years ago, at age 10, is awaiting his fate to be decided in a California courtroom.
A Yahoo! article from today notes that prosecutors have rested their case in the trial of the boy (whose name I am choosing not to even mention) who shot and killed his 32 year-old father after what the boy’s defense team claims was years of physical and mental abuse, and quite possibly sexual abuse as well.
The case has drawn huge media attention around the globe largely due to the fact that it is pretty rare for such a young child to murder anyone, let alone his own parent.
The prosecution team has been focusing on convincing the jury that the the boy, despite his age and problems at home, should be held accountable for the killing and that he did in fact know right from wrong when he committed the crime.
The final witness for the prosecution made certain to drive that point home.
“”He did know he was wrong (to shoot his father), he said it in many ways, including that night,” clinical psychologist Anna Salter told the courtroom, according to Yahoo!
Yet, as the defense has pointed out, serious questions still remain.
If a child was suffering abuse (or in this boy’s case, two or three kinds of abuse) at the hand of his own parent, couldn’t his actions be seen as protecting himself from serious threat or even death?
And if the boy was so young at the time, how do we actually convince ourselves with absolute certainty that he really did understand the consequences of his actions? Is the opinion of one or two “experts” enough to convince us?
For me, it really isn’t.
Any child raised in an environment of hate and anti-semitism, and whose life was one in which abuse from a parent was the norm, would seem to me to be a much more likely candidate to have seriously conflicting, and even delusional, emotions ultimately. No?
It’s a extremely volatile and sad case, of course, and our standard operating procedure when we have a murdered body on our hands is to automatically try and lock up the person who did it, but in these types of cases it would certainly seem as if everyone involved needs to take a good long look at what the so-called “system” in our country is all about.
A father is dead, yes. But if he was as abusive as he is being depicted in a court of law, then do we really believe in our heart of hearts that the son who used his father’s own gun to kill him was a cold-blooded murderer?
Or is he a child whose life was so tarnished by his own flesh and blood that he reacted savagely in a last ditch effort to survive?
Should he be put in state custody until he is of age to serve prison time?
Or this actually one of those cases where someone who needed help but never got it finally gets his second chance?
Info source: Yahoo!