Thursday, November 12, 2015 8:47 am
In the United States, an eight-year-old boy has beaten a baby girl to death to stop her crying while her mother was out partying at a nightclub, US police said Wednesday.
In an unprecedented move, the police have charged the juvenile with murder.
“Since becoming a police officer over 22 years ago, this is by far one of the saddest cases I have witnessed in my career,” Birmingham police spokesman Lieutenant Sean Edwards told AFP.
The incident happened at the home of a friend of the baby’s mother, whom police have identified as 26-year-old Katerra Lewis. She has been charged with manslaughter over what Edwards called “reckless” actions.
Police said Lewis left her one-year-old, Kelci, together with several children aged two to eight, while she and her friend went out clubbing.
The children — six in total, according to local media — were left unsupervised while Lewis and the friend were gone from roughly 11:00 pm until 2:00 am.
“It is believed that while the mother and friend were at the club, the eight-year-old viciously attacked the one-year-old because the one-year-old would not stop crying,” police said in a statement.
“The one-year-old suffered from severe head trauma as well as major internal organ damage which ultimately led to her death.”
The mother told police on the morning of October 11, a Sunday, that she found the baby unresponsive in her crib.
The girl was treated at the scene by first responders and was later pronounced dead at a children’s hospital.
“This type of behavior, this type of irresponsibility on behalf of a parent is totally unacceptable,” Edwards said of Lewis.
“No education, no school, no degree, no training can really prepare you for an eight-year-old committing a heinous crime like this.”
The mother was released on $15,000 bail. The Department of Human Resources said it had no prior complaints concerning Lewis or her daughter.
The DHR is holding the boy and won’t release his name.
– ‘Very, very unusual’ –
The age at which minors can be held criminally accountable varies from state to state in the US, but Alabama has no set minimum age for prosecution in juvenile court.
“It is very, very unusual for somebody as young as eight to be prosecuted,” Tobie Smith, a lawyer who specializes in the defense of minors in Alabama, told AFP.
The boy will be tried in juvenile court and risks being sentenced to juvenile prison until up to age 21 if found guilty, Smith said.