8-Year-Old Charged With Murder Of Infant
A woman accused of leaving her children home alone in a case that involved her daughter being beaten to death by an 8-year-old boy has contested the allegations against her.Advertisement
Katerra Marsha Lewis says she hadn’t left the children home alone. Police, on the other hand, say that Lewis left the boy to watch over five younger children while she and her friend went to a nightclub. The boy beat Kelci Lewis, the deceased infant, to death after she would not stop crying. He then placed her in the crib.
In a statement, the police said that Kelci sustained head trauma and “major internal organ damage” that led to her death. “We did have some information that the 8-year-old got extremely agitated because the 1-year-old refused to stop crying, and so I guess the 8-year-old took it upon himself and began to commit violent acts against the 1-year-old,” Lt. Sean Edwards, of the Birmingham Police Department, said.
When the infant was found in the crib the following morning, she was unresponsive. Police received the call at about 10:30 a.m.
According to ABC News, the boy has been charged with murder in juvenile court; and has subsequently been placed in child welfare custody, according to Edwards. Jenny Carroll, associate law professor at the University of Alabama, said that, in many jurisdictions, children between 10 and 12 years of age are not considered to have developed criminal intent. “We recognize that children don’t have the same thought processes and don’t have fully developed decision-making processes at that age,” he said.
Lewis has been charged with manslaughter, and is out of jail on a $15,000 bond. According to CNN, her attorney, Emory Anthony, said since Lewis did not commit the act in a heat of passion she could not be charged with manslaughter. “I think they are trying to allege that she was reckless or negligent in some particular way, and we’ll have to deal with that,” he said. “Of course, my client has a different story about what transpired.”
While the police have called the incident “vicious,” Bryan Stevenson, of the Montgomery-based group Equal Justice Initiative, criticized the way the 8-year-old boy has been characterized. He says that the case is about neglect and abuse. “What I’m really concerned about is assigning to this boy all of these evil, and vicious and adult-like characteristics when we’re talking about an 8-year-old child,” he said. “This is about neglect, abuse. It’s about the way we fail to help our children in the most vulnerable situations. It’s not about an 8-year old murderer.”