It’s hard to imagine the innocent children in our lives doing anything against the law.
It’s even harder to imagine them taking a life. But, you’d be surprised how often we hear on the news about murders perpetrated by children. In the last few weeks alone, a few stories have stuck in the mind, which is what motivated us to dig a little deeper.
Here are some of the most recent murderers in history, who were actually children.
Jordan Brown, aged 11
Jordan Brown was only 11 years old when he fatally shot his father’s fiancee in Pennsylvania on the 20th February 2009.
The victim, Kenzie Marie Houk was eight months pregnant and sleeping in bed, when Jordan shot her in the back of the head, before heading off to school for the day. Both Kenzie and her unborn child were killed.
Jordan Brown was charged as an adult and was given life in prison without the possibility of parole. The parents of Kenzie Marie Houk are outraged that Jordan has seemingly ‘thrived’ in prison with him studying and learning a trade at the taxpayer’s expense, whilst she remains to raise Kenzie’s two remaining older children without financial assistance.
There was a public outcry at the fact a child was charged as an adult, and Jordan remaining in Juvenile Detention.
When Jordan turned 18 years old, he was released. He remains free to this day.
Eric Smith, aged 13
A victim of bullying for much of his short life, Eric Smith was still an unlikely suspect when, in 1993 aged just 13, he murdered 4-year-old Derrick Robie. Both lives changed on the 2nd of August, 1993 when Eric Smith was riding his bike to a summer day camp at a local park. On his way, he spotted 4-year-old Derrick Robie walking alone to the same park. For reasons unknown, Smith lured Robie into the woods nearby where he strangled him, dropped a large rock on his head, undressed him and abused him with a tree limb. Smith was convicted of second-degree murder, and sentenced to a maximum juvenile term. He has applied for parole several times, and has been consistently denied.
Jon Venables, aged 10 and Robert Thompson, aged 10
There aren’t too many people who remain unfamiliar with the crimes of Jon Venables and Robert Thompson. On the 12th of February 1993, for their own confused reasons, Venables and Thompson kidnapped 2-year-old James Bulger from a shopping centre. They walked him several miles to a railway line, hurting him for much of the journey, before murdering him and leaving his body to be destroyed by passing trains. Both boys were found to play equal parts in the murder, and were sentenced to custody until they reached adulthood. They were released in June 2001 with new identities, although Venables has since been arrested in 2010, before being released again in 2013.
Alyssa Bustamante, aged 15
Alyssa Bustamante was just 15 years old when she strangled and stabbed her 9-year-old neighbour. Often called the ‘thrill killer’, Bustamante wrote in her diary after the murder that it was ‘pretty enjoyable’ and even ‘ahmazing’ (sic). She buried the body of her victim close to her house, and when the body was retrieved the police noted that Bustamante had dug two graves. She explained that she enjoyed digging holes, but police suggest that two of her younger siblings may have been the initial intended victims. Bustamante came from a broken home, and was on a high dose of Prozac when the murder took place. She is currently serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole.
Curtis Jones, aged 12 and Catherine Jones, aged 13
Catherine Jones and her brother Curtis have an infamous record to their names. At the time of their trial, they were the youngest people ever to be charged and convicted of murder in the United States. In 1999, aged just 13 and 12, they murdered their father’s girlfriend, Nicole Speights. As reason for their crime, Catherine and Curtis noted that they were being abused by a family member, and when Speights didn’t believe them, they planned to kill her, their father, and the abuser. This story is corroborated by Social Services, who spotted signs of abuse but never took steps to remove the abuser from the home. After killing Speights, Catherine and Curtis became too nervous to kill the others. They were given 18-year sentences, and are due to be released this year after being rehabilitated.
Connor Doran, aged 13, Brandon Doran, aged 14 and Simon Evans, aged 14
Teenagers, especially boys, have been known to adhere to a pack mentality in instances, which often leads them to doing very irrational things. This may have been the case when Connor Doran, aged 17, his brother Brandon, aged 14, and friend Simon Evans, also aged 14, attacked a homeless man in 2013. On a dare, the trio beat the man to death, simply because they felt like it. The Dorans were no strangers to murder, with their older brother already in prison for killing a stranger with a bottle in a chop shop. The leader of the group, Connor, was given 12 years, while Simon Evans received eight. Brandon Doran, who acted as a lookout, was given six years. The Dorans’ mother was also jailed for 30 months for providing false alibis for the boys.
Robert Bever, aged 18 and Michael Bever, aged 16
Technically, Robert Bever was already an adult when, just recently, he massacred five members of his family. His younger brother Michael, aged just 16, was also a perpetrator of the crime. Using knives and a hatchet, the boys killed their parents and three of their siblings, aged 12, 7 and 5. Their brave 12-year-old brother Daniel managed to call 911 before he died and alert the police to the crime. They also injured their 13-year-old sister, who is currently in hospital, but left their 2-year-old sister unharmed. A mugshot shows Robert Bever smiling disconcertingly at the camera, and covered in what may be blood. There remains little reason as to why the crimes took place, and only time will tell what sentences the Bever boys receive.
As unbelievable as it seems, these are just a few of the many crimes, including murders, perpetrated by children every year. And with each murder comes the debate about what should be done with these child killers.