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13-Year-Old Boy Gets 15 Years For Murder — Fair Sentence?

A 13-year-old Texas boy accepted a plea deal yesterday for a 15-year sentence following the stabbing murder of his friend earlier this summer. The boy charged in the murder will be eligible for parole in three years. The judge in the case says that he agreed to the relatively light sentence for the murder (which could have been up to 40 years) because he thought the boy had a good chance to change.

The judge said:

I think this young man has a chance to be rehabilitated. I’m actually pulling for him. All these cases are difficult. These are kids. Some of these kids are good kids, some are rotten kids, but they’re all kids, and all these cases that come through here are difficult. You have to weigh them and evaluate them, but that’s true for judges in any situation.

The charges in the incident stemmed from the boy stabbing his 14-year-old friend in the heart. His mother is understandably distraught, but his defense attorney says, "She’s upset, but she’s accepted it and come to terms with what’s going on.”

Was the judge right to value the prospect of rehabilitation in a criminal so young? Or does it speak to the underlying "rottenness" of the child to have committed a crime so young?


Join The Conversation
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
If the judge thinks at 13 he has a chance to be rehabilitated ( which may be true) then jail is not the place for him...because many people don't get rehabilitated in jail they sometimes become better criminals and are exposed to things that make it hard for them to reenter society. I agree with Roarman some other type of facility would have been more appropriate if rehabilitation was the justification for the light sentence. And after 3 years in jail I hope he doesn't get Parole for the sake of the victims family and society as a whole :|
Roarman Roarman 8 years
After reading the article, maybe jail is not the place for him. Maybe some type of psychiatric facility geared to helping him. In prison he will be just another prisoner. He obviously has emotional problems. It seems he comes from an unstable home life. What was he doing out at 12:30 in the morning? He was only 12.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i'm kind of torn about this whole thing. yes i think that it makes sense that he was given 15 vs. 40 since he is young and could change if he's rehabilitated in the right way - but again, he did know what he was doing right? (i don't really know the details of the case). it's just hard cause you want to think that kids can change, but you also have to teach them to be responsible for their actions once they are a certain age and in today's society - 13 is certainly old enough to know what you're doing and deal with the consequences.
kathili kathili 8 years
We really don't know all the circumstances surrounding the murder, so I think we should be careful to make any conclusions regarding the boy's character.
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
This is a sad situation and, like others, I am torn over what to think too. Part of me wants to believe that a child of only 12 years of age has to be able to be rehabilitated. On the other hand, if he gets out in only three short years after committing a murder, that would be unjust and unwise. The boy is clearly troubled and it will take much longer than that.
milosmommy milosmommy 8 years
anytime :)
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Thanks I really do appreciate the encouragement.
milosmommy milosmommy 8 years
I agree with everyone else on Hypno you really have a calling and in the area you live in (which is the east bay correct?) they need someone like you more than ever.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
Wow, Hypno - you are so fortunate to have such great role models in your life! It would be wonderful for you to become such a role model for a child who needs one!
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
Wow that is impressive and awesome about your sister. I REALLY hope you do it and soon!! :cheer:
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
But anyway I think that under these circumstances most of us can agree that rehabilitation would not be in vein and that this child can turn his life around.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Actually teaching has crossed my mind. I'm definitely due for a career change. My sister went back to college and got her degree at 50 while working full time, taking care of the grand kids, a sick husband, and prison ministry. I said girl you better slow down before you fall down. She said I don't have time, LOL. She has really inspired me to go back to college myself.
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
hypno ~ I hope you at least consider volunteer work some day. To make a difference in one child's life could be very addicting ;) I had an english teacher in high school once who on the first day said "I want you to know I'm not here because I want to be, I am here because I have to be to make a living!" :rant: I never went back. Great teachers are too few. I think you would find kids in a juvenile prison much more open to another way of life. Although, I personally don't feel the same for a boy who has committed murder at 12.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
I was actually thinking more along the lines of advocacy. It's hands off enough so that I don't lose myself in grief and will allow me the opportunity to b!+(# at a few politicians ;-)>
HeidiMD HeidiMD 8 years
I applaud the judge's consideration of the mitigating circumstances (his age) and his faith that this boy can change, but I think that this just reinforces that you really can get away with murder in this country. I didn't research this case anymore than simply reading this and voting, so I can't say for sure whether or not I completely agree with the sentence, but I'm leaning towards no. However, I am in total support of rehabilitation and counseling programs for the incarcerated. I just don't know if you can ever really be rehabilitated after taking a life.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
That is very sweet and I guess I do have a lot to offer but I simply do not have the emotional fortitude for such a career. My compassion I fear would get the best of my emotions.
amybdk amybdk 8 years
I third that thought. Hypno.... you're fantastic.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
I second that thought, Jazz.
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
Sorry in advance to wander off the subject, but hypno if you're not already in counseling working with youth or teaching, you may be missing your calling. You have such an optimistic outlook that your faith alone could help a lot of troubled teens.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Well now if it were just a matter of rehabilitation I do think that three years with probationary enforcement after parole would be fine. However there is the little matter of punishment and respect towards the victims family and I just feel that anything under ten years would be a total slap in the face to them. I'm taking a great leap of faith here in saying this but I think that if I were the victims father I would do everything I could to help redeem this child's life. I don't think I could bare knowing that two children were lost.
CurvatudeBlog CurvatudeBlog 8 years
honestly i am surprised that the judge was easy on him. its texas after all. but its such a hard thing when you dont know the circumstances to sit in judgement. obviously both of the children had potential but i know from my own life that one mistaken moment can ruin a life but i also know that when people are given a chance to redeem themselves that some do. prison is the worst place to send people if you want them to become decent citizens. it breeds criminals. more crime occurs behind those walls than on the streets some times.
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
hypno, it would seem then you don't agree with a verdict that only guarantees a 3-year term. I agree that it would take ten or more years to 'possibly' rehabilitate this boy, but the conditions would have to be pretty proactive and nonabusive. It would be interesting to learn the percentage of inmates who have been successfully rehabilitated, and whether that percentage is worth the risk. I think it would be great to rehabilitate these murderers and then send them all off to an island where, although they have lost the opportunity to live in a normal society, they still can have a pretty normal productive life...they can just never leave the island. Kind of like the movie 'Wristcutters' ;)
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Ahhh I see now thanks bellaressa. IMO this was a crime of passion by a twelve year old. Clearly a history of emotional problems and clearly an opportunity to rehabilitate, I say absolutely. I would not parole him in three years though. It is so difficult but in light of the precious life lost I would make him serve at least ten years. He'll be out in his early twenties have time to reinvent himself into society go to college and redeem his own life.
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
Thanks Jude ;) We're generally on the same page.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
It seems highly unlikely this boy is going to be rehabilitated in three years in prison. It's more likely he will be abused and then dropped off to his home with his nine other siblings until the next time he loses his temper...but his "friend" will still be dead ~ and just because he didn't return his affection.
Very well-put!
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