A 51 year-old Philadelphia woman was robbed and beaten on Monday afternoon when three children, ages 7, 10, and 12 broke into her home.
Neighbors immediately called police who found that she had been beaten and her home ransacked.
“They hit her in the face with a rock, they used rope and also sticks and a potted plant,” explained Lt. John O’Hanlon.
She was rushed to Temple University Hospital where she was treated for cuts and bruises to her face and knees.
A family friend said the suspects followed the victim as she returned home from doing laundry. “When she got home, they beat her and threw stuff into the house.”
The friend added, “They kept asking for money and they took her purse with some important paper in there.”
Police say the suspects were later identified as three black youth ages 7, 10, and 12 years-old.
“It’s amazing that these kids so young can be so violent,” Lt. O’Hanlon said.
But a neighbor named Edward Pastoriza told CBS he wasn’t surprised at all: “It doesn’t surprise me. A lot of these kids, they hang around with older kids and they learn how to do things like this.”
The 10 year-old suspect is a neighbor of the victim whose mother knew something was wrong when she saw the police.
” . . . (S)he basically came outside and said, ‘Here he is’,” Lt. O’Hanlon said.
Police believe they have identified the other two suspects as 7 and 12-year-old boys. They are planning to arrest the 10 and 12 year-old and charge them with Home Invasion Robbery and related offenses.
The 7 year-old is too young to be charged with a crime.
One of the youngest children to ever be charged with a serious crime in the U.S. was Carl Newton Mahan, six, who shot and killed his friend Cecil Van Hoose, eight, in a fight on May 18, 1929 in Paintsville, Kentucky. Less than a week after the crime, Carl was on trial for murder. During the trial, he would sometimes climb up on the defense table and take a nap. Convicted of murder, he was sentenced to 15 years of reform school, but the sentence was later overturned. He was eventually released to his parents on $500 bail.
In more recent times, the February 29, 2000 shooting of six year-old Kayla Rolland at Buell Elementary School in Mount Morris Township, Michigan by a six year-old classmate named Dedric Owens, made Rolland the youngest school shooting victim in U.S. history. Apparently, Rolland had chastised Owens the day before for spitting on his desk. Owens came to school the next day with a relative’s 32 calibur semi-automatic pistol and opened fire on the girl in plain view of a teacher and dozens of students. The bullet pierced a vital artery and Rolland was pronounced dead a short time later at a nearby hospital. Owens was never charged with the crime.
In an 1893 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that “children under the age of 7 years could not be guilty of felony, or punished for any capital offense, for within that age the child is conclusively presumed incapable of committing a crime.”
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