Friday, August 17, 2001

Young murder suspects appear across nation

By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The 11- and 13-year-old boys accused of beating to death an 8-year-old girl might be the youngest ever to face murder charges in Hamilton County.

        Prosecutor Mike Allen said no one in his office can recall a homicide case involving suspects so young.

        “I know I've never seen it before,” Mr. Allen said.

        The case places Hamilton County among the growing number of communities that have been struck by murders involving exceptionally young suspects.

        One of the most notorious cases occurred in Chicago in 1994, when two boys — ages 10 and 11 — beat a 5-year-old child and dropped him to his death from a 14th-floor window.

        At the time, the two juveniles were the youngest in U.S. history to be jailed for murder.

        This year, a 14-year-old Florida boy was sentenced to life in prison for killing a 6-year-old girl. The boy, Lionel Tate, was 12 at the time of the slaying. He became the youngest person in the United States to receive a life sentence.

        A homicide case in California three years ago involved a 9-year-old defendant accused of stabbing his brother to death with a steak knife. Because of his age, the boy was not eligible for trial in adult court.

        The boys charged Thursday in Hamilton County also cannot be tried in adult court because they are under age 14.

       Enquirer librarian Ray Zwick contributed to this report.


Two boys charged in girl's beating death

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