TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › IMO: In My Opinion › Zoloft Defense Didn't Work
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Zoloft Defense Didn't Work

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/02/15/zo...ial/index.html

At 12 years old, he killed his grandparents with a shotgun and burned down the house. His lawyers said "Zoloft made him do it". Jury didn't buy it. He'll get out of prison when he's 42. He is 15 now.
post #2 of 24
Good for that jury!
post #3 of 24
While I'm not sure I buy the Zoloft excuse, I do not believe that a 12 year old (at the time of the crime) should be tried as an adult. Furthermore, maybe his father should have been tried as well. Though the article did not go into detail, it suggests that the boy learned violence at his father's knee. I assume, and I may be incorrect that the term "strict disciplinarian " in the article did not mean sending your kid to bed without his ice cream. I did not follow the case, so I'm not sure of the guilty verdict, and don't know how others can be so sure of his guilt if they did not follow it either. IMO, it's wrong to decide this from just reading a CNN snipet.
Yeah yeah, go ahead, bleeding heart liberal.
post #4 of 24
Thank God, someone is finally getting through.

Hurray for the jury!!!

Best-
Michele
post #5 of 24
While I agree that blaming Zoloft for what happened is inane, I agree with Mom of Franz that at 12 years old this kid should not be tried as an adult. Why? Because he isn't one. At 12, the cause-and-effect portion of this kid's brain (sometimes called the "inhibition complex") is only just starting to warm up. It won't finish up until he's around 18-20. So is it expected that this 12-year old has the same ability to reason, consider consequences, etc as a 35-year old? It's not that he hasn't done something wrong, and not that there shouldn't be punishment, but he should not be tried as an adult.

I have been under the impression that the purpose of our criminal justice system is twofold: to punish the perpetrators AND to prevent the person from doing it again (humanely, so killing everyone who commits a crime is right out). If you take this 12-yr old and simply toss him in prison until he's 42, what you'll end up with is a hardened, bitter, violent man convinced that no one cares, so why should he? While right now what you have is a malformed, twisted boy. The boy has the potential for change, because his character is not set. As a middle-aged man . . . change is HIGHLY unlikely. I'd rather try and fix it now, than tuck him out of sight, out of mind.
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
So it would be better for him to only serve 5 years for shooting his grandparents multiple times at point blank range? That's the alternative. Juveniles are released when they hit 20 or 21 regardless of what crime they are convicted of. He didn't deny that he killed them, the defense was pretty much soley that he was controlled by Zoloft.

I'm sure he will get new lawyers and they will appeal based on ineffectual/incompetent council. No doubt the kid has major issues, but sending him on his merry way in five years certainly doesn't fit the heinous nature of the crime.
post #7 of 24
[quote=Obi]
Why? Because he isn't one. At 12, the cause-and-effect portion of this kid's brain (sometimes called the "inhibition complex") is only just starting to warm up. It won't finish up until he's around 18-20. So is it expected that this 12-year old has the same ability to reason, consider consequences, etc as a 35-year old? It's not that he hasn't done something wrong, and not that there shouldn't be punishment, but he should not be tried as an adult.


Excellent point Obi on brain chemistry, it's unfortunate that most people don't care to learn about brain chemistry, or they believe it's a lot of hogwash. For those people it's the "eye for an eye" way of thinking. No amount of scientific information will sway them.
post #8 of 24
I am suggesting that for a young kid, he has a chance at reformation that shunting him into prison for half his life won't give him. He'll just get out, after having learned all sorts of fantastic new ways to hurt people from his prison buddies (who will become his role models) and commit more crimes. What good did THAT do? It only delayed, not prevented, further crimes.
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Obi
I am suggesting that for a young kid, he has a chance at reformation that shunting him into prison for half his life won't give him. He'll just get out, after having learned all sorts of fantastic new ways to hurt people from his prison buddies (who will become his role models) and commit more crimes. What good did THAT do? It only delayed, not prevented, further crimes.
I agree wholeheartedly!
post #10 of 24
I don't understand why you're arguing... that at 12 years old he didn't understand that killing means death? It's not like he just hurt them, or shot them accidentally... or that he even just accidentally burned the house down. He shot them 4 times.

Obviously this was a troubled child, I mean, he even threatened suicide. But he had to have understood the cause and effect of shooting a gun at someone and setting a house on fire. Right?
post #11 of 24
What I'm saying is that his thoughts and opinions, at the age of 12, have much more to do with what he has been taught and told, and very little to do with his own ability to think and understand. Did you know, that if you get a group of kids under the age of 14 and show them a group of pictures of a human face, that over 90% of the kids won't be able to tell what emotion the face is expressing? If you give that same images to adults, they get it right nearly 100% of the time. As an example of something basic that you'd think kids could figure out, but truly their brains aren't there yet.
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkdaisy226
I don't understand why you're arguing... that at 12 years old he didn't understand that killing means death? It's not like he just hurt them, or shot them accidentally... or that he even just accidentally burned the house down. He shot them 4 times.

Obviously this was a troubled child, I mean, he even threatened suicide. But he had to have understood the cause and effect of shooting a gun at someone and setting a house on fire. Right?
I thought Obi did a great job in explaining that the "cause and effect" portion of this child's brain had not fully matured. No, I don't believe he FULLY understood his actions. This is more complicated, it is not a black and white issue, there is a lot of gray. Everyone would understand why a 2 year old does not have the capacity to solve an algebra problem, that part of the brain has not matured. The same holds true for this case, at least from what I can see and deduce.
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom of Franz
I thought Obi did a great job in explaining that the "cause and effect" portion of this child's brain had not fully matured. No, I don't believe he FULLY understood his actions. This is more complicated, it is not a black and white issue, there is a lot of gray. Everyone would understand why a 2 year old does not have the capacity to solve an algebra problem, that part of the brain has not matured. The same holds true for this case, at least from what I can see and deduce.
And this is why I don't post in IMO. Every post sounds so condescending. So this will be my last:

This is not an algebraic equation (and certainly not a TWO year old solving such an equation), nor is it deciphering an expression on a face... this is shooting a gun repeatedly, then setting a house on fire.

I'm not saying this kid had a normal childhood... I think kids that do this are obviously messed up in some way early on. Do I know how to handle this kid? What I would do? Whether he should be locked up for ages in jail? No... I'm not saying I know or have any idea - it's a tough case. I'm just saying that you can't dismiss the fact that this kid KILLED his grandparents by saying that he didn't understand, that his brain wasn't formed enough to know, that shooting a gun at someone would lead to death. That's all.
post #14 of 24
I didn’t mean to sound condescending, so I’m sorry if my response came out that way. I agree that IMO “discussions†can sound more like insult-fests, and that sometimes people are too blunt.

Mom of Franz’s analogy of the 2-yr old, and my explanation of human faces were intended to show that the human brain is incapable of fully comprehending certain things when young. The human faces is actually quite relevant to this case, imo, which is why I mentioned it. What those studies show is that young kids, such as a 12-year old, don’t fully understand the concept of empathy. In absence of someone trusted teaching him that hurting people is wrong (and apparently at home he learned that hurting people is acceptable), empathy is what would prevent him from hurting someone despite what he’d been taught. But at 12, he isn’t capable of really putting himself in someone else’s shoes and truly understanding how they would feel. We’ve all heard the phrase “teenagers think they’ll live foreverâ€. That saying is an acknowledgement that young kids truly don’t understand all the ramifications of death. So absolutely, he knew that his grandparent’s would die when he pulled the trigger. But I don’t think he was capable of understanding it in the same way that an adult would understand it. The argument raging on here is not whether or not he committed a crime. I think we all agree on that. Nor is it about whether or not it was horrible. I think we also all agree about that. The question is, what is the appropriate punishment? I think that, because he is not an adult and lacks an adult understanding of events, he should not be tried as an adult. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t need to be punished for his actions, just that the punishment given is not appropriate to him and I feel is not in the interests of the greater good. He’ll get out of prison as a middle-aged man and will more than likely simply commit more crimes unless we take steps to reform this kid now.
post #15 of 24
I really don't have the answer of what should be done about this kid; however, I wonder if any of you even attempted to kill someone at the age of 12? ...thought about it?
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
Having worked with kids of that age while I was teaching, as well as knowing a few personally (children of close friends), I'll just say that most people don't give kids enough credit for their mental abilities, reasoning skills, and just basically for being smarter than they are given credit for. Immature? Certainly. But I don't buy it that a 12 year old doesn't understand that if you shoot someone in the face with a shotgun that they are dead, and dead is dead - they aren't going to come back. And 12 year olds definitely understand the idea of cause and effect, shoot someone in the face and they die, killers go to jail, but if there is no evidence they can't convict you (burning down the house).

I will agree that the full logical thinking isn't there. It seems he was mad because they talked about sending him back to Florida after he got in trouble for fighting at school. The "revenge" for overhearing that conversation his grandparents had certainly doesn't fit the "crime" as he saw it. Unless he was that desperate to stay away from his father, in which case that should have been presented by the defense instead of this asinine defense about an anti-depressant.

The problem for the jury, though, wasn't whether he did it. He admitted to that. Or whether or not he should have been tried as an adult. That was decided before it got to them. It was whether or not Zoloft "made him do it", and they (thankfully) decided that it didn't.

(I have been keeping up with the media coverage of this case since it started because I know quite a few people who are on Zoloft, so I was very curious as to whether there would be any "secret documents" from Pfiser offered by the defense as was done in the tobacco cases. Early in the case it was reported that documents had been requested by the defense.)
post #17 of 24
Just why was he tried as an adult? I can see it (to some extent, though I have to admit to having doubts,) in the case of a 16 or 17-year-old who has committed a particularly heinous crime, but 12? Wouldn't it be better for legislators to create laws that could prevent minors from automatically being released at 18 - 21, but also from being sentenced to 20 or 30 years?
post #18 of 24
At 4 years old, when my mom was being abused (physically, and mentaly) by her bf, I remember fearing that he could kill her out of his wild anger. I remember praying to the creator to step in and save her. I remember NOT telling anyone about her being abused because if I did, he would hurt her more. I understood that a gun would KILL a person, and that person would NEVER come back. I remember that all clearly. I also remember knowing that him telling her that she was worthless, and nobody would ever love her, was wrong. I remember seeing her worth, and knowing that I loved her. I didn't understand WHY she stayed with him. I didn't understand WHY he did it. I also didn't understand HOW he could love her, and hurt her at the same time.

I remember at 12, wishing to KILL my stepbrother (I won't say why I wanted but it is VERY personal, and he hurt me and my brother both). IMO at that time, he had no good reasons for living. I knew though, no matter what he'd done to me, or my bro, that it was wrong. I knew if I tried to kill him, I would get into trouble. I knew it was wrong to kill someone. I knew that he had a right to his life as much as I did to my own, but he ruined mine in a way, and my brother's, so I wanted to ruin his. I never told what he'd done to me, but I did tell what happened with my brother. He got in BIG trouble, and was never allowed alone with either of us. He also got sent back to Washington. I wish he would have been taken to jail, or something. I was so scared of him after that, and he was so nice to me. I still hate him (Hate is a very strong word, and I don't use it lightly.) I don't wish him dead anymore because I understand that he has lived a hard life, and Karma bit him in the butt. Bit him VERY hard. He lost his dad, his dad was so ashamed by what he had done, contact was broken. He lost his boyfriend to cancer or something. I feel bad for his losses, and I wish my dad(step) would talk to him. But... that's not my problem.

In short, what I am saying, is what others have said. This whole thing has a lot of grey areas. When compairing what I was thinking at his age, and younger, I have a hard time bying that he didn't know it was wrong. Or that a med could cause him to do it. But... He is NOT me. He did not grow up like me. He was not talked to like an adult when he was a child.(that I know of). He didn't have the relationship I had with my mom.

I just really hope that if this kid can get help to save him from becoming another # in our prison system, then get out and end up hurting more people.

It would be nice if they tried people as 'young adults' rather then child or adult. People don't grow from children straight to adults, just as they don't go from toddler to adult. He should be punished for his crime. Murder is wrong, then setting fire to the house afterwards... he knew what he was doing (IMO). But... he is not an adult either.


I keep thinking of other grandkids of his grandparets (were there any?). I am sure they are all very sad to have lost two people in such a horrible way. Because of the fire, they may not get anything handed down. I cherish the few things I have from my grandparents. Objects from a different life and time.

Or what about their friends? The loss must be horrible. They took him in, out of the 'system', and perhaps he should have gone into therapy to help with his anger.

If it was about not wanting to go back to his dad, that SHOULD have been brought up in the trial.
post #19 of 24
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat
Just why was he tried as an adult? I can see it (to some extent, though I have to admit to having doubts,) in the case of a 16 or 17-year-old who has committed a particularly heinous crime, but 12? Wouldn't it be better for legislators to create laws that could prevent minors from automatically being released at 18 - 21, but also from being sentenced to 20 or 30 years?
I wonder if the prosecution, dragged their feet on this case. Did they wait until he looked more mature to sway the jury. Boys look a lot older at 15, then they do at 12, they have pretty much lost that baby face look. Hell most boys aren't even sexually mature at age 12. The basic question is WHY did they try him as an adult? Why bother with juvenal laws at all, when you are going to dump most kids into adult court. Trying children as adults seems to be a trend in this country in the last few years. I think it's because most adults can't or refuse to see past their own anger, and refuse to look at a child with severe problems. But that's how everything is in this country, we want a quick fix for everything, nobody wants to THINK anymore and get beyond the black and white.
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom of Franz
Nobody wants to THINK anymore and get beyond the black and white.
I hadn't thought about it in that respect, and you are right. Let's ban this and that to make it safer, instead of THINKING of a working salution.
post #22 of 24
One thing that I believe has changed, and not just in the U.S., is that most people no longer appear to believe that there can be any such thing as rehabilitation.
One thing that was going through my mind when reading this thread yesterday was that there was a very notorious serial killer, whose name escapes me at the moment (was it Ed Kemper?) who also killed his grandparents when he was 15, and went on to kill again and again.
I just checked - it was Ed Kemper I was thinking of: http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_k.../edmund_1.html
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat
One thing that I believe has changed, and not just in the U.S., is that most people no longer appear to believe that there can be any such thing as rehabilitation.
One thing that was going through my mind when reading this thread yesterday was that there was a very notorious serial killer, whose name escapes me at the moment (was it Ed Kemper?) who also killed his grandparents when he was 15, and went on to kill again and again.
I just checked - it was Ed Kemper I was thinking of: http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_k.../edmund_1.html
Then again, there is the case of the founder of the Crypts gang. He founded an empire that still goes strong today whose foundation is murder and violence. Since being imprisoned, he has undergone a reformation process and has founded a very successful program to keep people OUT of gangs or get them out if they are already in (from prison, where he remains and will remain, without possibility of parole).
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Obi
Then again, there is the case of the founder of the Crypts gang. He founded an empire that still goes strong today whose foundation is murder and violence. Since being imprisoned, he has undergone a reformation process and has founded a very successful program to keep people OUT of gangs or get them out if they are already in (from prison, where he remains and will remain, without possibility of parole).
Which brings Malcolm X to mind. His autobiography is one of the most remarkable I've ever read.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: IMO: In My Opinion
TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › IMO: In My Opinion › Zoloft Defense Didn't Work