Monday, March 24, 2008

Hillbilly Mom: Judge, Juror

I watched some TruTV today. You know, the station formerly known as CourtTV. There was the trial of a 15-year-old kid who killed his principal. They had two women give an opinion of whether this boy should be tried as an adult, or as a juvenile. The TV did, not the judge.

The one lady, who was some kind of lawyer, perhaps, said that since Killer had told several people that the principal would not make it to Homecoming, and brought two guns that day, and shot the principal 5 times with a revolver, he should be tried as an adult. He had planned the murder.

The touchy-feely child psychologist said that Killer should be tried as a juvenile. The brain in an adolescent is not capable of reasoning like the brain of an adult. Oh, and the kid had suffered sexual abuse at age 6 from a 12-year-old stepbrother, and ongoing physical and psychological abuse from his father, who had called him 'retard' and 'dumba$$', and thought the proper way to discipline Killer was to 'beat him on the buttocks with a wooden paddle'. Give me a freakin' break about the 'beatings' already. In my day, that was called 'spanking'. Oh, and Killer was not allowed to shower at home sometimes, and so the principal had arranged for him to shower at school. And another thing...Killer did not get along with his stepmother, who had adopted him at the age of 6, and that if any housework got done, it was done by Killer, as well as the cooking, which he did mainly for himself, because he was home alone, and if laundry got done, it was because Killer did it. Give me another break. I have many students, boy and girls, who say they do their own laundry. Perhaps the stepmother and father were both working, and Killer needed to pull his weight around the house. The defense attorney even said about the cleaning and the laundry, "And we can see that Killer did not do a very good job at keeping up with these duties."

I did not hear the entire trial. But apparently Killer was not so stressed by duties that he did not even do. I am not very sympathetic. They would disqualify me from the jury pool. A 15-year-old kid knows the difference between right and wrong. I don't care about his brain. Unless he is mentally ill, he knows not to go to school and kill the principal. Oh, yeah. He did it because he was mad that he had been suspended for throwing a stapler at a teacher, and then a few days later had been caught with a can of chewing tobacco in his backpack. The police had been called over the stapler incident, and the officer reported that the stapler was in 3 pieces, and the cinder block wall on the other side of the classroom had a quarter-size and dime-sized hole from where the stapler struck. Killer had told the officer that he wanted to hit the teacher with the stapler, but he missed and it hit the wall. He was mad because he had been working on a project with a partner, and they got into an argument, and he called the partner 'Fatty', and was given a detention. He also admitted to the officer that he used some vulgar words along with 'Fatty'.

A girl in Killer's gym class saw him with the chew, and told the principal, because it is against the rules to have tobacco or drugs at school. Killer asked her the next day if she told on him, and pointed his finger at her like a gun. The defense attorney asked her if Killer said anything to mean it was a gun, and she said no. The DA held up his hand in the 'Loser' shape at his forehead, and then pointed it at the girl, and said, "What would this mean if a kid did it to you? That you told and you are a loser?" And the girl agreed. Except that Killer never put his hand to his head before pointing his gun-finger at her.

Anyhoo, they have all the witnesses, and the 5 'accidental' shots of the revolver, 3 of which hit the principal, one in the chest, one in the head, one in the leg, and the shotgun that another administrator took away from the kid. That's what I left out. On that Homecoming morning, this other guy saw Killer walk into school with that shotgun. At first, he thought it was a prop for the Homecoming parade. Then he asked Killer, "What are you doing with that gun?" Killer told him, "I'm gonna f***ing kill someone with it." The guy said, "Not in my school you're not!" and took the gun away and carried it away from all the students, either into the office, or outside. Then Killer took out his white-handled revolver.

Back to my original point of juvenile vs adult...why would you want to try this kid as a juvenile? It's not like he was 6 years old. Why let him serve 3 years and get out? As an adult, he's facing life without parole. It's not the death penalty. Why would he be miraculously cured of his murderous tendencies at the age of 18, to be released back into society? I'm having none of that.

The lawyer lady even pointed out that lots of people have been abused, and paddled, and have had crappy childhoods--but they don't all go out and kill people. The child psychologist said this was his cry for attention, to let people know that he was under stress and couldn't take his crappy life anymore. She argued that trying him as an adult would not send a message to other kids who contemplate these acts. Kids and even their parents don't understand that much about the judicial system, and barely know the difference between being tried as a juvenile or adult.

Hmm...I've overheard several conversations from the kids about beating someone up while they're still under 18, because then they'll only go to juvenile, but at 18, they'll go to regular jail. And the same type of attitude about having underage girlfriends. They know.

This world needs to make people more responsible for their own actions. So says Mrs. HillbillyMom, judge, juror, but not executioner.


Betty said...

I think the laws regarding how long juvenals have to serve needs to be changed, according to the crime committed. This boy needs some serious jail time, plus some serious institutionalization (how about THAT word?). He should be able to get that kind of sentence even in juvenal court. So there. :)

DPA said...

I'm with ya! I saw part of the same show today. That one teacher was so nervous on the stand he fell out of his seat. I felt sorry for him.

Killer was clearly disturbed and was showing plenty of warning signs or "cries for help" before he crossed the line. Like the smart lawyers on Court TV said, I don't understand why they're not using an insanity defense. Cause he obviously is a little off.

It sounds like he had a mildly unpleasant upbringing. I had way more "chores" than what they described, was called worse things than a "dumbass," and took beatings with objects other than wooden paddles. While I had my fair share of anger issues as a teenager, I didn't kill anyone. Unless something was already OFF with him, those things aren't enough to push a person over the edge. No matter what happens to you as a kid, there comes a point where you have to take personal responsibility and decide not to let it determine who you become. Maybe 15 is a little early for him to get to that point, but I still think there was a conscious decision to kill the principal-- especially when you consider how far in advance he was telling other people of his PLAN.

If I'm ever in a situation like that, I hope I get the chance to knock the kid out with something heavy. I'm sure they never imagined he'd pull out a second gun after they took that rifle away from him, but it would've turned out alot differently if they'd taken the gun and subsequently popped him in the head with it.

Just my opinion.

Hillbilly Mom said...

I agree. I don't know why such disturbed, crying-for-help people are thought to be suddenly cured at the age of 18.

I missed the chair-falling, but I assume you're talking about the Gun Safety instructor. He's the one who looked really nervous to me. And I hated the way the defense went after those 15-year-old girls.

Yeah, the head-whack would have been great. But then the kid would have said he only brought the gun for the Homecoming Parade, and cite battery by school staff, and get a big settlement to buy 4-wheelers and more guns and big-screen TVs that the teachers can't afford.

Not that I'm a bitter old hag or anything.