(Closed) Is this crazy? Can a 5-year-old be charged with murder/drowning?

posted 10 years ago in Legal
Post # 17
Member
872 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I agree with everyone and I think that the care provider should be held responsible. I do not believe that a five year old understands what the results would be by holding the baby under water. I read somewhere that the 16 year old that was left to care for the children have developmental disabilities. If that is the case (depending on what the issues are), the parents should be held responsible…. Such a sad story!!

Post # 18
Member
633 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I definitely don’t think the babysitter should be held accountable. It was a mistake on her part and if she accidently dosed off I think it would be hard to put her at fault. Yes, she should have been watching the children, but unfortunately these “freak accidents” do happen.

I also don’t think it would be right or appropriate to charge a 5 year old with murder. Although some children can be quite emotionally and mentally distrubed I disagree even with children as old as 10 and 12 being treated the same as adults. If you haven’t hit puberty yet you’re still in a stage of life that is learning and it’s hard to fault a child for not knowing better.

I do think this little girl is going to need some serious counselling and she will have to be monitored in the future to ensure that she has proper mental stability. From what I have read though, I doubt this child had a full understanding of the crime she was committing. In court, if you are lacking the criminal motive or awareness of the malice behind the crime it’s very difficult to be convicted, especially in the case of a child this young.

To me the whole situation reads as a tragedy and a horrible accident. I feel for everyone who is involved. It’s a very sad thing.

Post # 19
Member
872 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

View original reply
@linzeelou: didn’t see your post until after I hit submit but I said that same thing….

Post # 20
Member
8028 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

I don’t think that a 5 year old is able to fully comprehend death or its consequences.  My daughter’s guinea pig died when she was 5 of natural causes and we buried her in the back yard.  Periodically, for about a year afterward, my daughter would inquire as to how I thought the guinea pig was “doing”.  While I wanted to reply “I’m sure she’s rotting just fine”, of course I refrained and only replied the “just fine” part.  Eventhough she saw her dead and watched it be buried I really don’t think she totally got it.

edit- my daughter was 5 the the above story (not the guinea pig!)

Post # 21
Member
7298 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

A 5 year old can understand it, but I don’t think they are capable of intent.
My 4 year old knows about death/dying/killing. We’ve shown her our guns and have had a serious talk about gun safety and what would happen if she were to play with it. We made sure she understood what killing means.
She plays with her toys and pretends one of them is being killed, but then she makes it alive again and continues to play. We have told her that real life doesn’t work that way and if she killed someone, they would not be coming back.

It’s sad that the parents used a babysitter that wasn’t fully able to take care of the children and it’s sad that she fell asleep with two small children running around.

Post # 22
Member
315 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

No jury in the world would convict a five year old… and no police force in the world would charge one.  The officer in the story said that they are still “investigating,” but what they very well may be investigating is if anyone ELSE needs to be charged… ie, parents, 16 year old.  Personally, I actually think they should just let the whole thing go as a tragic accident, and maybe get the five year old some counseling before the horror of what she really did sets in.

And just so we’re clear, my own daughter is actually five, and while she has fits and gets mad, even if she ever did something like this I would understand that she didn’t know what she was doing.  There’s a reason five year olds aren’t suppossed to be left alone with babies- they’re not mature enough, nor do they understand how to take care of them.  My daughter still plays with her two year old friend and pretends she’s a “dolly”.  I doubt the five year old in the story was thinking about anything other than getting her baby to stop crying.

Post # 23
Member
1723 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

A 5 year old does not have the capability of forming intent, which is required for a murder charge.  I forget the exact age, I want to say it’s around 12, but there is a cutoff where the child is deemed legally too young to form intent.  They could charge the parents with negligence or something to that effect.

Post # 24
Member
2394 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

The person who decides whether or not charges will be brought is the prosecutor, FWIW.  Not the police.

I agree with PPs who indicated that most five year olds aren’t capable of fully grasping “death” as a concept, let alone forming intent.

This sounds, to me, like a tragic accident.

Post # 25
Member
7691 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

Wow that is incredibly sad. I do think that the 16 year old should be held somewhat accountable. If you are trusted to babysit then you are trusted to make sure nothing happens to the children you are watching – it is your job.

I don’t think the 5 year old should be charged for murder but I’m sure she knew that what she was doing was not right.

Post # 26
Member
9815 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

A 5 year old can know right from wrong, but I have to believe maybe just for my own sanity, that a 5 year old would not intend to kill.

Post # 27
Member
2394 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

View original reply
@PitBulLover:  Eh.  There are several reports indicating that the 16 year old may have developmental delays or other disabilities, and was tasked with watching multiple children.

If that’s true, I think punishing her is unfair.

Post # 28
Member
676 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2009

This is awful! This entire situation is just terrible! Four children is alot for anyone one person to look after, especially for a teenager – if that teenager had developmental issues it would be even more of a challenge for her to keep up with all of them. If a toddler was crying that hard I don’t understand how the 16 year old slept through it.

The idea that an adult would hold a child’s head underwater to make it stop crying is horrific but for the five year old – she’s just doing what she was familiar with. Seriously, what is up with these parents????

Post # 29
Member
7691 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

View original reply
@teaadntoast: Oh I didnt realize that. Well in that case the parents should be held accountable. They shouldnt have left the small children with someone who was not capable of caring for them.

Post # 30
Member
592 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I think that 5 year olds can understand death or the cycle of life or what have you. But there is no way a 5 year old understands WHAT kills people or WAYS to kill people. Sure, now, after all is said and done I’m sure the child understands that the baby is “dead” but at the time I highly doubt she knew that what she was doing would kill the baby. I’m sad for everyone involved.

Post # 31
Member
4369 posts
Honey bee

It’s a tragic incident, but I think a 5-year-old cannot truly have murderous intent.

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