Whoever wrote that “little girls are sugar and spice and everything nice” obviously never met these young hellions. The poem follows, “little boys are made with snips and snails and puppy dog tails” – it does not apply to these junior murderers. Here is a list of five young killers whose cases have significance in history — and who you should never invite to a birthday party and play “Pin the Tail on the Donkey.”
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Photo of J. Yates courtesy R. Stephens
In 1968, just before her 11th birthday, Mary Bell strangled a four-year-old boy and mutilated the body. She vandalized a school, leaving clues for the police, several months later; she strangled and mutilated a three-year-old boy. She was 12 years old. Mary was known to be a dangerous bully in the schoolyard. She took great pleasure in watching the investigation proceedings and tormenting the victim’s families. She was arrested and, after a trial where she showed no emotion and bantered with prosecution, sentenced to life. As a teen she escaped from prison and was on the run for a short time. Mary Bell is now a grandmother and has no other crimes on her record.
When he was ten years old in 1993, Jon Venables and his friend, also ten, enticed a two-year-old child to follow them out of a store. They led the baby through town, occasionally assaulting him, and eventually to a railroad track where they hit, kicked, beat, sexually assaulted, and threw bricks at the child until he was dead. They weighed the baby down with rubble to hide the body and eventually a train did run over the dead boy. Venables and his accomplice were imprisoned until they were 18 in 2001 on “lifelong license” (parole). In 2010, Venables was charged with child pornography and returned to prison.
Before there was Columbine High, there was Cleveland Elementary. Sixteen-year-old Brenda Spencer lived just across the street from the school. In 1978 Spencer took a rifle her father had given her for Christmas (she had asked for a radio) and, using a window, started shooting at the children and adults one morning as school began. Two people were killed and more wounded. Spencer barricaded herself in the house until police could talk her into surrender. She received a sentence of 25 years to life and has been denied parole every time. Her next parole hearing is scheduled for 2019. Spencer had a history of shooting out the school windows when no one was in the building, expressing the desire to kill law enforcement, and suicidal ideations.
In 1874, fourteen-year-old Jesse Pomeroy was arrested for the murder of a four year old boy; he had slashed the victim’s throat to near decapitation. Pomeroy was known to be a dangerous boy both in and out of the schoolyard, torturing and mutilating both children and animals. Then the torment escalated. When he was eleven years old, Pomeroy sexually molested and tortured several other boys. Then he murdered and mutilated a ten-year-old girl and hid the body under his mother’s store. Pomeroy reportedly showed no remorse for the crimes. In 1874 a court found him guilty. At sixteen he was sentenced to life in prison. While incarcerated he taught himself several languages and attempted escape multiple times. He died in a hospital for the criminally insane in 1932.
In 2007 eight-year-old Amarjeet Sada led people to the site of where he buried a six-month-old baby after he killed her with a heavy stone. This led to an investigation of two more deaths at the hands of the youth. Sada’s eight-month-old sister and a nine-month-old cousin had suffered the same fate. He strangled his sister and beat the cousin in the head until dead. The family covered up these two deaths. Because law in India does not allow a child to be sentenced to death or sent to prison, Sada can be detained at a children’s home until he is 18.