Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Children who committed murder (Part 2)

When we read about children who committed murder, we are shocked to the core.  However, we mustn’t forget that evil thoughts can be found in the minds of children just as they can in adults. The difference is that children don’t think of the consequences that adults do so they have less reason to fear consequences because in some countries, they are treated as young offenders and their periods of imprisonment is far less than that awarded to adult offenders—and they know this.

Part 2 of this series will deal with boys who commit murder.  Yes, some of those sweet boys who were cuddly babies and adorable tots can later harbour the desire to kill human beings, especially after watching violent movies on TV.
Éric Borel (born on December 11,  1978) was a French high-school student and spree killer who, at the age of 16, murdered his family in Solliès-Pont in on September 23, 1995, and afterwards he walked several miles to the village of Cuers where he continued his rampage the next day, shooting dead twelve other people and injuring four more, while pacing through the streets for half an hour. The shooting only ended that day when the police arrived at the scene, whereupon avid committed suicide rather than face imprisonment for life.
Borel's mother, an authoritarian and – at least outwardly – a religious person and activist in the Secours Catholique, (Catholic school) mistreated and beat him regularly because she believed him to be a “child of sin”. He never developed a close relationship with his mother's new companion, with whom he was said to have frequent rows and who reportedly also beat him on occasions. However, Franck and Jean-Luc Bichet, Yves Bichet's sons, stated that their father had always been nice to Eric, even building him a shack for his chickens and other animals he took home. When Eric broke his arm at the age of eight, rather than to go home, he preferred to run away and hide, until he was found, shivering from pain. In this type of situation, David, who was known as a quiet and taciturn boy who kept to himself and rather tended the chickens in the backyard during his free time than to go out

He grew up and developed an increasing admiration for the military, telling lies about heroic deeds of his father during the Indochina War and adoring his stepbrother Franck Bichet, who served in the army. He had an interest in weapons and used to shoot sparrows with an air gun. The week prior to the shooting, he told one of his classmates that he would commit suicide, but not before killing two or three people. It is too bad that his classmate kept quiet about what he heard right after he heard the threat.

In my opinion, if his mother who was mentally sick and hadn’t been the monster she was, it is conceivable that this boy might have turned out as a righteous and law abiding person and his victims would all be alive today.

David Brom (born October 3, 1971) is an American mass murderer. He killed his parents, brother and sister with an axe in February 1988 near Rochester, Minnesota when he was 16 years of age.

In the early evening of February 18, 1988, Olmsted County sheriff's deputies discovered the bodies of Bernard (43), Paulette (42), Diane (13), and Richard Brom (11) in the Brom family home. Missing from the home were the two oldest sons, David (16) and Joe (18). The police had been notified by the administration of David's school that students had reported hearing a “rumor” going through the school that David had informed another student that he had killed his family that morning.

All four individuals had sustained numerous gashes in the head and upper body. Police subsequently found a blood-stained axe in the basement that forensic tests indicated was used to kill all four victims. Immediately after the discovery, the police were concerned that David may be the victim of an abduction. A friend of David Brom informed the police that David himself had informed her that he had killed his family and testified to the discussion in the subsequent trial. She told jurors at the trial that Brom stopped her the morning of Feb. 18, 1988 as she was going to school and convinced her to skip school with him. He then detailed how he killed his parents, brother and sister. The girl said that Brom had told her he had gotten into an argument with his dad about 11:30 p.m. the previous night and that he then stayed up until about 3 a.m. She then said that David hit his dad with an axe and he kept hitting his dad as his dad kept on getting up.

She indicated that David detailed the crime to her, saying he went to his parents' room and at first, killed his father. Then he hit his mother and then went to his brother's room. Then he saw his sister standing over their mother in the upstairs hallway at which point he attacked them both with the axe and killed them.

David Brom escaped from the scene and was captured on February 19, 1988 while using a pay phone near the local post office. His case was initially referred to the juvenile court system given that his age at the time of the crimes was 16, but eventually was sent to the adult judicial system based on the severity of the crime. As Brom's defense claim was insanity, mental illness was a factor in the trial and much media and legal focus was placed on Minnesota's use of the M'Naughten Rule in determining if Brom was legally insane at the time of the crime. On October 16, 1989, Brom was convicted of first degree murder and was given 3 consecutive life sentences. He is currently housed at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Stillwater, Minnesota. He will be eligible for parole in 2041. He will have served 52 years in prison and will be 70 years old when he is released.

I have to presume that his defence of insanity was not accepted by the jury otherwise he would have been found not guilty by reason of insanity and placed in a mental institution for the insane.                                                        
Under the M'Naghten rule, a criminal defendant can be found not guilty by reason of insanity if, at the time of the alleged criminal act, the defendant is so deranged that he did not know the nature or quality of his actions, or he knew the nature and the quality of his actions but he did not know that what he did was wrong.

Many lawyers tried this ploy to get their clients off but in many cases when their ploy works, their clients end up spending more time in a mental institution for the insane than if they were sent to prison. This is why it is used only when it will be obvious to a jury that the crime is so egregious, they want to have their client executed or sent to prison for life without parole. In David Brom’s case, they preferred to have him rot in prison.
Three members of the Richardson family were murdered in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada  in April 2006. The murders were planned and committed by the family's 12-year-old daughter, and her 23-year-old boyfriend Jeremy Steinke, now going by the name Jackson May.

At 1:00 p.m. on April 23, 2006, the bodies of husband Marc Richardson, 42, and wife Debra, 48, were found in the basement of their home, and the body of their son Jacob, 8, was discovered upstairs. Absent from the home at that time was the couple's 12-year-old daughter. For a time it was feared that she might have been a victim, but she was arrested the following day in the community of Leader, Saskatchewan, about 130 kilometres (81 mi) away, with her 23-year-old boyfriend Jeremy Allan Steinke. Both were charged with the three murders. Later, on May 3, 2006, Steinke's friend Kacy Lancaster, 19, was charged with being an accessory, for driving them away in her pickup truck later in the day and for disposing of the evidence of the murders.

According to friends of the daughter, the girl's parents had punished her for dating Steinke, due to the age disparity. Her friends had also criticized their relationship. Shortly after her arrest, Steinke asked her to marry him, and she agreed. According to friends of Steinke, he told them he was a 300-year-old werewolf. He allegedly told his friends that he liked the taste of blood, and wore a small vial of blood around his neck. He also had a user account at the web site. The girl had a page at the same site, leading to speculation they met there. However, an acquaintance of Steinke later said the couple actually met at a punk rock show in early 2006. The couple were also found to be communicating at Nexopia, a popular web site for young Canadians. Various messages they sent to each other were available to the public, before the accounts were removed by Nexopia staff.

The daughter's user page, under the name Runawaydevil falsely said she was 15 and ended with the text “Welcome to my tragic end.” Just hours prior to committing the murders, Steinke and some friends reportedly watched the film Natural Born Killers, a 1994 film about a young couple who commit a violent spree of killings. Steinke asserted to his friends that he and his girlfriend should go about their plans in a similar manner, but without sparing his girlfriend's young brother. Steinke said to an undercover officer: “You ever watch the movie Natural Born Killers? I think that's the best love story of all time.” The man is a freak of nature, of that you can be sure.

Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act the name of the daughter could no longer be published in Canada after she became a suspect. Under the same Act, twelve is the youngest possible age at which a person can be charged with a crime; convicts who were under fourteen years of age at the time they committed a crime cannot be sentenced as adults, and cannot be given more than a ten-year sentence.  On July 9, 2007, the girl was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder in the killings.

On November 8, 2007, she was sentenced to the maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment. Her sentence included credit for eighteen months already spent in custody, to be followed by four years in a psychiatric institution and four-and-a-half years under conditional supervision in the community. On December 15, 2008, Steinke was sentenced to three life sentences on each of three counts of first-degree murder. The sentences are to be served concurrently. Steinke will be eligible for parole after serving twenty-five years. Quite frankly, I doubt that the National Parole Board will release him after he has served the minimum of 25 years in prison. Alas, I am too old to see that day come. Had he committed the crime after the law was changed in which the sentences are to be served consecutively, he would be released until he served 75 years. by then, he would be 98 years old. As it is, if he is released after serving 25 years in prison, he will be 48 years of age. Mind you, his 25 years in prison will be very hard for him. The inmates and guards alike don’t look kindly on prisoners who are convicted of killing a child. 
Why do children kill their parents? Murder in the family, although shocking and unsettling, is not uncommon. An analysis of publicly available national homicide data reveals that; when the relationships between victims and offenders were known, one of four murder victims was slain by members of his or her own family during the period 1977-1989. Approximately 1 out of 11 of these family murders involved parents being killed by their children. More than one third (36%) of parricide (the killing of one’s parent), cases are accounted for by youths 19 years of age or younger.   
The child who kills his/her abusive parent is taking that action which is most likely (in the child’s mind) to prevent him/herself from being further abused. The act is one of self-preservation. The relationship between the victim and the son or daughter is one in which the parent/victim abuses the child severely, pushing the child to the point of explosive violence. Professionals who have encountered or researched this find a common theme—children that kill their parents have usually been severely victimized.

In most of the parricide studies it has been found that there is a pattern of frequent assaults on the children, and all of the adolescents had either been threatened by parents with a gun or had watched other members of the family being threatened.

Children who are subjected to physical or sexual abuse or who witness it being brought upon their siblings should be encouraged to report it to their teachers at school or other authorities instead of taking matters into their own hands.

I will continue this series at a later date.

If you are interested in this subject, you can scroll back in my blog to three other articles I have written about children who committed murder. They are as follows:

The murderer has no grounds for an appeal.  Oct. 21, 2009.

Should young offenders who murder their parents be given only two years  in prison?  June 29, 2010.

CHILD KILLERS: What treatment is suitable?  Apr. 1, 2013. 

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