EXPERT: Adult murder charge for boy, 10, “defies all logic”

A 10-year-old boy, who is described by his mother as having mental difficulties, is alone in a Pennsylvania county prison cell, charged as an adult with killing a 90-year-old woman. Prosecutors say they had no choice but to charge him in criminal court and house him in an adult correctional facility; the law requires it.

In Pennsylvania, homicide charges must be filed in adult court.

childs hand“It’s ridiculous. …The idea of prescribing criminal responsibility to a 10-year-old defies all logic,” Marsha Levick, deputy director and chief counsel of the Juvenile Law Center, a public interest law firm, told 48 Hours’ Crimesider.

“The Supreme Court has recognized that teens and adolescents hold lesser culpability. Their brains are obviously still developing and they’re developmentally immature. Multiply that for a 10-year-old.”

T.K. was arrested October 11 and charged with criminal homicide in the beating death of Helen Novak, a 90-year-old woman being cared for by the boy’s grandfather.

“I killed that lady,” T.K. told investigators, according to a police affidavit.

The affidavit alleges T.K. told police he became angered when Novak yelled at him, so he grabbed a cane, put it around her throat and punched her repeatedly.

“I was only trying to hurt her,” the affidavit quotes the boy as saying.

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