Monday, December 7, 2009

Killer Kiddies

When most hear of children as killers they might first think of school shooters...all frequently of high school age and qualifying for the mass murder category (those who kill multiple people in one area at one time).  While sad and disturbing to hear about it's not terribly shocking anymore; many schools now have metal detectors, bag checks, and other safety precautions set up just to prevent a possible school shooting from occurring.  However something that really can't be prepared for by a school, or anyone, something still rare enough to shock others, is the child serial killer.  Those pretty little girls and bright young boys who target, hunt, and kill other children around them just as Dahmer, Bundy, and the other adult serial killers did.

Bad Boys

Jesse Pomeroy was known as "The Boston Boy Fiend" in the papers and with good reason.  At just twelve young Pomeroy seemed a full grown sociopath; a boy who delighted in the torturing of other, smaller, children.  For nine months, starting in December 871, he began to lure smaller boys away with him to bound, beat, and torture.  When finally caught he was sentenced to reform school until he turned eighteen...after serving just under 17 months he was paroled and then promptly killed ten-year-old Katie Curran and four-year-old Horace Millen.  He was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the murder but, being young as he was, there was controversy regarding the morality of executing such a young boy and so the sentence was commuted to life.

The youngest serial killer in the United States was Craig Price, aka "The Slasher of Warwick" of Warwick, Rhode Island, who at the tender age of thirteen began killing in the 1980s.  His first victim, Rebecca Spencer, was a woman who'd he started out peeping on before graduating to breaking into her home and stabbing her to death with a kitchen knife.  Two years later he killed Joan Heaton and the woman's two daughters (Melissa, eight, and Jennifer, ten), also using a knife.  Price freely confessed to the murders, sentenced to prison, and is up for parole in 2019.

As of 2007 it seems the youngest serial killer on record might be eight-year-old Amardeep Sada of India.  According to news articles the boy was caught when his latest victim, a six-month-old girl named  Kushboo, was reported missing after she left the infant sleeping  in the village's primary school.  Some villagers and family of little Sada already knew to look in the young man's direction since this wasn't the first time he'd been suspected of having killed an infant.  The boy had apparently killed his eight-month-old sister three months before and had started with killing his six-month-old cousin the year prior.  The boy's uncle (and father of the first victim) told local media explained that some villagers and family member were aware of the first to killings committed by the boy but they were not reported since it was considered a "family matter".  With this final murder though the police were called in and the eight-year-old Sada confessed saying that he'd taken the babies out to fields near the village, beat them with rocks, and then buried them in shallow graves.  While he's already been arrested and confessed to the murders the authorities wished to do some investigating into his mental state and there have been no new developments reported since.

Aggressive Girls

Little Mary Bell had big blue eyes and a heart-shaped face at the age of eleven.  She was downright adorable.  She was also the killer of two preschoolers and without remorse for what she'd fact she seemed to find it enjoyable, amusing even.  Unlike the boy killers mentioned she did have an accomplice in her best friend Norma, who joined her in the assaults on four other children in the span of one day before they moved onto murder.  On May 25, 1968 the body of three-year-old Martin Brown was found in an abandoned, run-down, house with blood and saliva caked around his mouth.  It was little Mary who excitedly gave the boy's aunt, Rita Finley, the terrible news...she and Norma also continued to return to the woman's house with happy grins asking if she missed her nephew and cried for him until the distraught woman threw them out and told them not to return.  Two months later, on July 31, another three-year-old boy named Brian Howe disappeared and, when his older sister, Pat, went to look for him is was Mary and Norma who offered the help.  The little boy was found later between two concrete blocks on a stretch of industrial waste ground where the local kids were known to play.  He'd been strangled, sexually mutilated with a broken pair of scissors, and had the letter "M" carved into his belly with a razor.  It didn't take long for suspicions to fall on the two girls and soon they were brought in for questioning.  With each girl blaming the other both were brought to trial...Norma was acquitted, Mary was sentenced to "detention for life"...she was released from jail in 1980 and has since tried to live a quiet, anonymous, life with the daughter she had in 1984.

Some Things Never Change

While these cases certainly differ from the "normal" serial killer cases in the age of the one committing the murders many other factors remain the same.  All these youthful killers selected victims that were smaller and weaker than them - even Craig Price who at thirteen had the body of a large, fully grown, man and so the physical ability to kill the adult women he did - and that's a cornerstone of serial killers, to pick the easiest targets available that suit their deviant needs and desires.

Like many adult killers both Jesse Pomeroy and Mary Bell were the subject of horrific abuse; Jesse reenacted his father's torturous beatings on his victims and Mary seemed to be taking her anger at being abused physically and sexually by the men her mother sold her out to on her victims (as with her sexually mutilation of little Brian Howe).  Both Jesse and Mary also started out on animals, a frequent occurrence with all serial killers no matter the age they begin to kill other humans.  In Jesse's case it became so that the family was unable to keep any kind of pet at all.

Mary is also recorded as having filled out the other aspects frequently found in adult serial killers.  She had all characteristics of the Homicidal Triad; cruelty to animals, prolonged bedwetting into her adult life, and vandalism (though not the more commonly seen pyromania it's the same idea, destruction of property).  She also did a few other things seen in adult serial killers such as inject herself into the investigations by offering to inform the victim's family in the Martin Brown case and help in the search for her second victim.  She also boasted about her kills to others in the form of peers and in leaving notes - such as one that said "we did murder Martain brown Fuckof you Bastard" - behind in a nursery she and Norma broke into and destroyed two days after the tot's body was found.

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