When I hear about children committing vile acts against members of their own family, I can’t help but wonder how these kids grow to be so mean with no sense of liability or empathy for their own kin. When an adult commits a horrendous act such as murder it boggles my mind, but I blame them for their actions. However, when a 13-year-old does so, I am left saddened and confused. Are they to blame or does some of the responsibility rest on their parents for their lack of control and discipline?
This brings me to Zachary James Proper, a 13-year-old boy from Oil City, Pennsylvania who admitted to fatally shooting his grandparents. What reason did he have for the killing? According to James, he was very upset at his grandparents because they apparently "called his mother a whore and spoke poorly about her." Does this justify killing your grandparents? I don’t think so!
To make matters worse, according to the complaint, after committing the murders, “he then went to his cousin's home where he spent the night and partied without telling his cousin and others what he had done.” It is a harsh reality that a child could commit such evil acts without feeling any sense of guilt.
Zachary was charged with criminal homicide. He has been arraigned and held without bond.
Will Zachary be Tried for Murder as an Adult?
The juvenile justice process is much different than the adult criminal system. Children are usually tried in juvenile court. However, if a child has been charged with a crime such as murder, all states will allow these juveniles to be tried as adults in criminal court. In many states, the legislatures have statutorily excluded juvenile courts from hearing cases regarding serious offenses regardless of the age of the accused.
I am not sure whether Zachary will be tried as an adult or not. If he is tried as an adult and found guilty, he will be subject to some harsh sentencing.
Do you think Zachary or any child his age should be tried for murder as an adult?
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