One missing teen and a handful of murders

This is not related to missing people, but it reflects another interest of mine — juvenile crime and juvenile justice. A higher court has reversed the decision to try 12-year-old Jordan Brown as an adult for the murder of his pregnant stepmother, a crime that took place when he was 11. The county judge had sent the case to adult court because Jordan refused to confess to the crime and claimed he was innocent — ergo, he was refusing to take responsibility for his actions and was probably unsalvageable even in his tender youth. But the district court was like, “Um, kid has not been tried yet, and there is such a thing as the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.” But the case has been bounced back down to the same county judge and he might, I suppose, find another excuse to send Jordan back to adult court.

I believe that if Jordan had freely confessed to the crime, the judge would have used THAT as an excuse to try him as an adult — “He shows no shame at all and even seems to brag about the shooting.” I mean, I’m as horrified as anyone else by what this child is said to have done, but eleven years old is not an adult by any stretch of the imagination and it strikes me as pretty cruel and unusual to send him away for life.

Doug Stewart has been convicted of murdering his wife, Venus, who went missing last April. Ain’t no surprise. The prosecution’s case, even without Venus’s body, was very strong, and the defense didn’t produce any witnesses and just relied on an appeal based on the whole “reasonable doubt” thing.

There is an article about Shantelle Hudson, whose case I just updated yesterday and will now have to do so again. The article has a few shreds of new info. I have to wonder if Shantelle ran away from home only to meet with foul play weeks or months later. If that’s the case she may very well be a Jane Doe somewhere.

And as the entire world knows, Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, aka Christopher Chichester, aka Clark Rockefeller, has been charged with murdering Jonathan Sohus, who disappeared with his wife Linda in 1985. Many of the articles on the case say Jonathan’s body was found in 1994. As I note in his casefile, the police found bones, strongly believed to be Jonathan’s — I’d be shocked if they weren’t his — but there were no teeth for dental records comparison and as he was adopted they didn’t have any relatives for DNA comparison either, so the body was never 100% identified as far as I know.

One article says Jonathan’s body was identified “recently” but doesn’t say how, and I can’t find anything else on the subject. Unless authorities were able to locate one of Jonathan’s biological family members, I don’t see how they could have done it. Unless I find more info on this alleged recent identification, I’m keeping him on Charley, the same way I’ve still got Cornelia Meyer up still even though they’ve probably found her remains too.

16 thoughts on “One missing teen and a handful of murders

  1. Princess Shantae March 16, 2011 / 6:01 pm

    I say it realy doesn’t matter if he’s an adult or not. What he did is very seriousw and you can never go back from that. If it was just him being careless or horsing around then I’d say no, he shouldn’t go away for the rest of his life. But anybody that knows anything at all about crime knows that people like that don’t change, they just get better at not getting caught next time. They keep him and talk to him for a few years then let him go and its just a matter of time before he kills somebody else. Might be the next day or the next week or next year or ten years down the road but he’ll do it again.
    Also its the Fifth Amendment that’s to protect you from self incrimination. First Amendment is your free speech and free press.

    • Meaghan March 16, 2011 / 6:07 pm

      Whoops. Whatever happened to my middle school civics lessons? Will fix.

      I personally don’t think it’s likely that this boy is going to kill anyone else, whether or not he’s free. Number one being that contrary to popular belief, very few people who commit murder go on to do it a second time. And number two that I know of examples such as Mary Bell — a terrifying little girl who tortured and murdered two toddlers in cold blood when she was ten years old, and who since her release from custody something like thirty years ago hasn’t been arrested for anything.

  2. Princess Shantae March 16, 2011 / 6:12 pm

    Not being arrested for anything isn’t the same as not doing anything. If I lived near her I wouldn’t take any chances about my own kids.

    • Meaghan March 16, 2011 / 6:21 pm

      I don’t know if I would either, but I highly doubt Mary is going around torturing or killing anyone now. She’s still watched pretty closely; she’s kind of on probation for life. And she gave birth to and raised her own child, who turned out okay. There’s a book about Mary called “Cries Unheard” by Gitta Sereny. It’s pretty good.

  3. Justin March 16, 2011 / 7:17 pm

    I suppose that even sociopaths might get the message that it could be counterproductive to kill people you don’t like when there is no guarantee that you will get away with it. It doesn’t make them safe to be around though.

    Child or not, I would rather have him tried as an adult so he could be locked up for a lot longer than if he was a juvenile just to make sure he is the hell away from me and the people I love.

  4. Kat March 16, 2011 / 10:28 pm

    On the child case, I’m living in Pa right now and this case has gotten a lot of coverage. From what i have read it looks like he did do it. Though I am confused about how the coverage has changed from a maybe motive to no motive to he is using his rights, etc. Not sure what to think. On the JS note, I did read in a story on cnn that he was id’ed in 2010, finally. Wanted to post and ask about that and how, but I’ve gotten tired of the boards there. Even reading them gives me a headache. Everything immediately turns into personal attacks and politics. I don’t know if anyone talked about the case.

    • Meaghan March 16, 2011 / 11:02 pm

      I think Jordan probably did it too. I don’t know what’s to be done with him if he did, but he is not an adult and throwing him in prison for life is not justice.

  5. Princess Shantae March 17, 2011 / 10:09 am

    He did an adult crime. Keep him in a juvenile facility till he’s 18 or until he gets in trouble there, then move him to an adult prison. The important thing is he should not ever get out and have the chance to do that kind of thing again.

    • Meaghan March 17, 2011 / 3:27 pm

      I don’t think there’s really such a thing as an “adult crime” or a “child’s crime.” Crime is crime.

  6. Princess Shantae March 17, 2011 / 5:27 pm

    Then there shouldn’t be any difference between a child doing the crime and an adult doing the same crime.

    • Meaghan March 17, 2011 / 5:37 pm

      I think if they are going to say that children who commit crimes should be punished the same as adults, they ought to also grant children all the other rights adults have. Why is a child twelve years old too young to drive or drink alcohol or marry or hold a job or make their own medical decisions or quit school or do just about anything you can think of, but if they commit a crime they are suddenly grown up and old enough to stand in the adult dock?

      • Emma l March 18, 2011 / 7:27 am

        I was going to say the thing. It opens all kinds of scary doors. If you are saying a child is old enough to know right from wrong and make adult decisions, where does that leave us on the issue of peadophilia for example? Should we just say “the child can make his/her own decisions about who they have sex with”? Of course not. Its a terrifying prospect.
        Children are treated differently from adults for many many reasons. Otherwise we can just send then off to live in houses and have jobs/children on their own.
        Saying all this, I am not advocating of course that he should NOT be punished.

      • Meaghan March 18, 2011 / 12:35 pm

        Of course I’m not being entirely serious — just trying to make a point here. I don’t think they should be able to have it both ways.

  7. Princess Shantae March 18, 2011 / 9:33 am

    Not knowing right from wrong doesn’t make somebody any less dangerous. And a kid 11 years old is past old enough to know that shooting somebody and killing them is wrong. If he doesn’t know that by then, he never will. More likely he’s a psychopath and those people know in their heds what’s right or wrong, but they don’t care, b/c all they care for is what they want and that they’re intitled to do whatever they feel like doing b/c they’re so much more special than other people.

    • Emma l March 18, 2011 / 11:10 am

      Sorry, I think I was waffling earlier. I fully agree that a child DOES know right from wrong. But I still don’t think they are capable of thinking as an adult. I don’t think the 2 things are the same
      I’m pretty sure treating a child the same as say a 30 year old man is not the answer. I don’t know what the answer is to situations like this, is the truth of it.

  8. Vanessa March 20, 2011 / 6:14 pm

    A child of 11 is capable of knowing right from wrong, yes. But at the same time a child of 11 is a CHILD. Their brains aren’t fully formed, their personalities aren’t fully developed, their hormones are just beginning to kick in and mess with their emotions, and they haven’t got enough experience of the world to have a full grasp of consequences and the future. Otherwise, as Emma says above, it would be logical to say 11-year-olds are capable of informed consent in sexual relationships. Trying a child as an adult under these circumstances is not the answer.

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