In the following horrific cases, you will read here, these children have stood trial for murder before they even hit their 15th birthday. It’s the age-old question – should we blame the parents or just believe that some kids are natural born killers?
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15. Armadeep Sada, 8-years-old
8-year-old Armadeep Sada, known as “India’s youngest serial killer” was charged in 2007 with the murder of three children. Sada was the son of an impoverished couple who lived in the eastern state of Bihar. All of his victims were less than a year old.
Six-month-old Kushboo was abducted from her home after her mother, Chucchun Devi, put her to sleep. When she returned to check on her daughter – she was gone. Locals questioned Sada and he finally confessed after leading them to a shallow grave where he had attempted to conceal the body. After his arrest, he confessed to also murdering his eight-month-old sister and his six-month-old cousin. His parents had known of the murders but didn’t report to the police as they considered it to be a “family matter.”
Inspector Shatrudhan Kumar of Bihar police claimed that Sada had, “said he took the children to the fields and hit them with a stone and killed them. He has been charged with murder.” He then added that during questioning Sada, “just smiled a lot and asked for biscuits.”
14. Eric Smith, 13-years-old
Eric Smith was aged just 13-years-old when he murdered 4-year-old Derrick Robie on August 2nd, 1993, in Steuben County, New York. Smith had been known as a loner, who was often targeted by bullies for his ears, thick glasses, red hair, and freckles. He had been diagnosed with the intermittent explosive disorder, a mental disorder causing individuals to act out violently and unpredictably.
On August 2nd, Eric Smith was riding his bike through a local park when he saw young Derrick Robie walking alone. Smith lured Robie to a nearby secluded area in a woods. Here he dropped large rocks on the boys head, strangled him, sodomized him and undressed him. The cause of death was noted as trauma to the head with contributing asphyxia.
Hours later, Robie’s mother went to the park to meet her son but panicked when he did not arrive. After a search of the local area, his body was found and the age of the killer, 13-years-old, and the age of the victim, 4-years-old, caused a media storm. Later Smith confessed that he hurt Robie because he needed to take his anger out on someone but then became worried he would tell so he killed him.
On August 16th, 1994, Smith was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to prison for juvenile murderers where he would begin a minimum sentence of nine years to life. He wrote an apology letter to his victim’s family which he read on public television: “I know my actions have caused a terrible loss in the Robie family, and for that, I am truly sorry. I’ve tried to think as much as possible about what Derrick will never experience: his 16th birthday, Christmas, owning his own house, graduating, going to college, getting married, his first child. If I could go back in time, I would switch places with Derrick and endure all the pain I’ve caused him. If it meant that he would go on living, I’d switch places, but I can’t.”
13. Jordan Brown, aged 11-years-old
11-year-old Jordan Brown shot and killed his father’s pregnant fiancée, 26-year-old Kenzie Marie Houk, on February 20th, 2009. Houk was eight months pregnant when Jordan shot her in the back of the head whilst she was sleeping at their home in New Beaver, Pennsylvania. His father, Chris Brown, had left for work early that morning when he took the 20-gauge shotgun and killed her. Both she and her unborn son died as a result.
Houk’s four-year-old daughter ran to nearby tree cutters to alert them of her mother’s death the following morning, Jordan had already left the home and got on the school bus with Houk’s other 7-year-old daughter. When the Pennsylvania State Police arrived at the scene of the crime they found a discarded shotgun shell near the path Jordan walked to get the bus.
Jordan was tried as an adult, which caused human-rights organization Amnesty International to oppose the trial citing the mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole penalty as a violation of international law. A petition was then signed by nearly 4,000 people protesting against the denial of Jordan’s fifth and sixth amendment rights. Despite their efforts, the transfer to a juvenile court was denied and he was found guilty of murder.
12. Jasmine Richards, 12-years-old
In 2006, three members of the Richardson family were murdered in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, by the 12-year-old daughter of the family, Jasmine Richards. At 1 pm on April 23rd, the bodies of 42-year-old Marc Richardson, his wife 48-year-old Debra and their son 8-year-old Jacob, were found shot dead at the home. Their daughter, Jasmine, was missing and at the time it was feared that she was another victim.
The following day, Richards was arrested 81 miles away in Leader, Saskatchewan, with her 23-year-old boyfriend, Jeremy Allan Steinke. Both were charged with the three murders and their friend, 19-year-old Kacy Lancaster, was charged with being an accessory after she drove them away in her pickup truck after the event.
According to reports, Jasmine had been asked to end her relationship with Jeremy due to the age difference. The pair had met online at VampireFreaks.com, where Jeremy told his young girlfriend he was a 300-year-old werewolf and that he liked the taste of blood. Jasmine’s username on the site was “runawaydevil” and her description read “Welcome to my tragic end.” Before the murders, the couple had watched the 1994 film Natural Born Killers and Jeremy later told an officer: “You ever watch the movie Natural Born Killers?… I think that’s the best love story of all time…”
Jasmine became the youngest person in Canada to ever be sentenced for murder when she was sent to prison aged 13-years-old.
11. Jesse Pomeroy, 14-years-old
In 1874, Jesse Pomeroy became the youngest person to be convicted of murder in the first degree in the history of Massachusetts. Between the years of 1871-1872, several young boys had been lured to a remote area and attacked by a slightly older boy. They were beaten so badly that many were left permanently scarred for life. The attacks stopped once Pomeroy moved away from the area.
His family relocated to South Boston, where in March 1874, 10-year-old girl Katie Curran had gone missing. The very next month, the mutilated body of 4-year-old Horace Millen was found in Dorchester Bay. Days later, Katie Curran’s body had been found, hastily hidden, in the basement of Pomeroy’s mother’s dressmaking shop. Detectives immediately arrested the young boy. Aged 14-years-old, Pomeroy was sentenced to death by hanging, which was overturned by his lawyer and exchanged for a life sentence.
In prison, he taught himself Hebrew and German. He wrote poetry and studied law books, spending decades composing legal challenges against his own conviction. He made a dozen “determined attempts” to escape, and had even lost an eye after attempting to destroy the walls of his cell by causing a gas pipe explosion. His 1914 psychiatric report claimed he had shown the “greatest ingenuity and a persistence which is unprecedented in the history of the prison.”
10. Lionel Tate, 12-years-old
In Broward, Florida, 12-year-old Lionel Tate and 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick were being babysat by Tate’s mother, Kathleen Grossett-Tate, on July 28th, 1999. They had been playing upstairs in the house together when 45 minutes later Tate told his mother that Eunick had stopped breathing. He said they were both play wrestling when he had her in a head lock and accidentally slammed her head into the table.
Later an autopsy found that Eunick had suffered a fractured skill, fractured ribs, a swollen brain and a collapsed liver. Her injuries were compared to that of someone who had fallen from a three-story building. Judge Joel T. Lazarus of Broward County Circuit Court said, “The acts of Lionel Tate were not the playful acts of a child. The acts of Lionel Tate were cold, callous and indescribably cruel.”
Tate who murdered Eunick when he was 12-years-old had been sentenced aged 14-years-old. He was the youngest person in modern US history to be sentenced to life imprisonment.
9. 12-year-old Alex and 13-year-old Derek King
In 2001, in Pensacola, Florida, brothers 12-year-old Alex and 13-year-old Derek King, murdered their father, 40-year-old Terry King, after bludgeoning him to death with a baseball bat. Convicted child molester, 41-year-old Ricky Chavis, was also sentenced to a maximum of 30-years in prison after helping the young boys cover up the murder.
After the boys had killed their father, they set their home on fire, called Chavis who came to pick them up, then washed their clothes and hid from the police at his house. His lawyer called his sentence “disproportionate” when compared to the maximum eight-year sentence the King brothers received for the murder. The boys, who were on trial separately, both pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and served their sentences in separate juvenile facilities.
8. Cristian Fernandez, 13-years-old
In 2011, 13-year-old Cristian Fernandez caused the death of his 2-year-old half brother, David Galarraga. He became the youngest person charged as an adult with first-degree murder in Jacksonville history after pleading guilty to battery. The prosecution heard that Fernandez had slammed his younger brother’s body into a bookshelf at their home apartment.
His mother, Biannela Susana, also pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter, after admitting to leaving the children alone together and then waiting eight hours before getting medical attention for David. An unrelated sexual battery case was also raised against Fernandez but this was dropped from the trial due to lack of physical evidence.
The case became one of the most controversial in history when he was originally on trial as an adult and faced a life sentencing. His supporters, who turned up on the date of the court hearing, believed he was either innocent or that he should be on trial in a juvenile court. Fernandez pleaded guilty and is set to be released sometime before his 21st birthday with probationary conditions.
7. Marcelo Pesseghini, 13-years-old
13-year-old Brazilian boy, Marcelo Pesseghini, caused a lot of controversy in 2013 when he had allegedly killed both his police officer parents, his grandmother and his great-aunt before spending a full day at school and then taking his own life. All five bodies were found at their home in northern Sao Paulo, Brazil. The head of Sao Paulo Civilian Police’s homicide department told the press, “Everything seems to indicate that Marcelo (Pesseghini) killed his parents and relatives.”
Evidence heard in court from Pesseghini’s friend claimed that he had revealed his desires to become a professional hitman and kill his own parents. His unidentified friend was quoted as saying, “He always told me he wanted to become a hired killer. He had a plan to kill his parents during the night so that no one would notice and escape in the parents’ car and live in an abandoned place.”
Pesseghini had died after shooting himself in the left temple with a revolver belonging to his officer parents. A second gun, a .32 caliber revolver, had been found in his school backpack. Although many believed that this was a police coverup and a conspiracy it was confirmed by the commander-in-chief this was not “an act of revenge by a criminal group.”
6. Andrew Wurst, 14-years-old
On April 24th, 1998, the Parker Middle School dance shooting took place, after student Andrew Wurst shot dead 48-year-old teacher John Gillette and wounded three more during an 8th-grade dance dinner. Wurst had lived in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, for most of his life and was described as an “average student” and a “loner.” He had no history of mental illness prior to the shooting.
The 14-year-old turned up at the dance with his father’s .25-caliber pistol in a holster belt under his jacket. He had left a suicide note under his pillow at home and planned to only kill himself at the dance. Then at 9.40pm, he was asked by Gillette to come inside as the dance was about to begin and it was then that he began shooting the teacher until he ran out of ammunition. He entered the dance and fired more shots injuring three more. He was stopped once another brave teacher apprehended him and demanded he drop the gun.
Wurst’s attorneys had considered an insanity defense but it would have been too hard to convince the jury. Instead, they recommended he plead guilty and he was charged with attempted murder and first-degree murder. He is currently serving a 30 to 60-year sentence in a prison for young offenders.
5. 11-year-old Andrew Golden and 13-year-old Mitchell Johnson
11-year-old Andrew Golden and 13-year-old Mitchel Johnson both committed a massacre at Westside Middle School, Craighead County, Arkansas, on March 24th, 1998. Between them, they shot and killed four students and a teacher. Ten other people, nine students, and one teacher were injured. The two boys were known as school bullies, who spoke often about gangs and smoking marijuana. Johnson had previously threatened to kill his sixth-grader girlfriend, Candace Porter after she ended their relationship.
The night before the shootings, the two boys had loaded a Dodge Caravan with camping supplies, snacks, nine weapons (Remington 742 .30-06 rifle, Universal.30 M1 carbine replica, Smith & Wesson .38 revolver, Double Deuce Buddie .22 two-shot derringer, FIE .380 pistol, Star .380 pistol, Ruger Security Six .357 revolver, Davis Industries .38 two-shot derringer, and a Charter Arms .38 revolver) all of which had been stolen from Golden’s grandfather’s house and 2,000 rounds of ammunition.
Above: In a family photo, Andrew Golden holds a handgun as he sits in
The following morning, they drove the van to the school and fired at students as they exited the main doors. They then attempted to escape in the van with all their supplies to start a new life as runaways but were soon caught by the police.
During the trial, Johnson hung his head and read out a letter of apology: “We were not going to shoot at anyone in particular. I really thought we would scare them. I am sorry. I hope anyone who listens to these words knows how truly sorry I am.” Due to their young age, they were tried in juvenile court and were found guilty of five counts of murder. In August 1998, both boys were sentenced to confinement at the age of 21, which at the time was the maximum sentence available under Arkansas law.
4. “Girl A”, aged 11-years-old
On June 1st, 2004, at Okubo Elementary School in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan, a 12-year-old schoolgirl, Satomi Mitarai, had her throat and arms slit with a knife. The identity of her 11-year-old killer, who was Satamo’s classmate, is known only as “Girl A”, as the names of Japanese juvenile defenders are not revealed to the press. The Nagasaki District Legal Affairs Bureau even went as far as cautioning those who revealed Girl A’s identity online with the prosecution.
During the lunch hour, in an empty classroom, Satomi’s body was found covered in blood by a teacher who immediately called the police. After Girl A was taken in for questioning, she confessed the entire murder pleading, “I am sorry, I am sorry.” She then spent the night in prison, sobbing and refusing to eat. She wrote in her confession that Satomi had left several nasty messages about her on the internet, including comments about her weight and calling her a “goody-goody.”
Girl A was institutionalized at a reform center in Tochigi and was released in 2008. This shocking crime began a debate about lowering the age of criminal responsibility in Japan, with petitions signed demanding the age be lowered from 16 to 14.
3. Carl Newton Mahan, 6-years-old
In eastern Kentucky, 1929, 6-year-old Carl Newton Mahan was on the lookout for scrap metal to sell to a local junkyard with his friend, 8-year-old Cecil Van Hoose. The young boys had got into an argument over a piece of scrap iron and Cecil then hit Carl in the face with it. What was initially typical boys stuff then turned into a murder.
Carl ran home, grabbed his father’s shotgun and then threatened to kill Cecil with it. He shot him through the head – whether accidental or intentional. He went on trial for the murder and was sentenced to 15 years at reform school. He was the youngest person in the state of Kentucky to ever have been on trial for murder if not the whole country.
2. Mary Bell, 11-years-old
In 1968, Mary Bell strangled to death two little boys, 4-year-old Martin Brown and 3-year-old Brian Howe, in a suburb of Scotswood, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. She was convicted of manslaughter the same year and released from prison in 1980. She now lives under a different identity.
Bell’s life was one of constant abuse, which she suffered at the hands of her mother Betty, who was a prostitute, and her clients. Family members claimed that Betty had attempted to kill Mary more than once and wanted to make it look accidental. Once Mary had “fallen” from a high window and “accidentally” taken sleeping pills. Her twisted mother even forced her into prostitution from the age of 4.
On May 25th, 1968, just days before she turned 11-years-old, Mary strangled 4-year-old Martin Brown in an abandoned house. Then on July 31st, she and friend Norma Bell (no relation), strangled 3-year-old Brian Howe to death in an abandoned wasteland near their homes. Mary later returned to carve an “M” into the boy’s stomach and mutilate his penis with scissors.
While her friend Norma Bell was acquitted, Mary was convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Psychiatrists described her as displaying “classic symptoms of psychopathy” and that she posed a “very grave risk to other children”. She spent 12-years in prison and now lives a new life, where it was rumored that she had recently become a grandmother.
1. 10-year-old Robert Thompson and 10-year-old Jon Venables
On February 12th, 1993, in Kirkby, Merseyside, England, 2-year-old James Bulger was lead away from his mother and killed by two 10-year-old boys, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. CCTV evidence from the New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle showed Thompson and Venables looking at several children, which was believed to be them selecting a target. On the day, they were playing truant from school and were also seen stealing several items including sweets, troll dolls, and blue paint. They later revealed that their plan was to steal a child and then push him into heavy oncoming traffic.
At around 3.40pm, Denise Bulger realized that her son, James or “Jamie” to family, had disappeared whilst she was distracted inside a butcher’s shop. CCTV showed that Thompson and Venables had taken the toddler by the hand and lead him out of the shopping center. They had then walked for 4km (2.5miles) across to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal where they tortured him by kicking and stomping on him, throwing bricks and stones, covering him in blue paint and police also believe they may have inserted batteries into his anus. They had found a 22-pound (10.0kg) iron bar and dropped this on his head causing ten skull fractures.
Before they left the scene of the crime, the boys laid Bulger’s body across the tracks and weighted him down with rubble. They were both hoping that his death would have appeared like an accident. Bulger’s severed body, caused by the impact of a train, was discovered two days later. The police found the video of the abduction and many people claimed they had seen the three boys together but not had intervened. One woman recognized the two boys, knew they had played truant that day and contacted the police.
The real identity of the two boys came as a huge shock to detectives, as the low-resolution CCTV led them to believe they were looking for “two youths” aged 16-18 years old. The two 10-year-old boys were each charged with the murder on February 20th, 1993. Both their families moved to different areas of the country and were assigned new identities after receiving death threats from the general public.
Both Thompson and Venables were reassigned new identities and the location of their imprisonment was also hidden from the public due to the outrage and mounting death threats. The Manchester Evening News published details suggesting the name of the secure institutions where the pair were and they were fined £30,000 for contempt of court and ordered to pay costs of £120,000.