Do they come from good homes? Bad homes? Is something wrong with them from birth? Or is their parentage and environment at fault?
Mary Bell committed the first of two shocking murders on the day before her 11th birthday. In May of 1968, Mary strangled a four-year-old boy.
On July 1968, she and a 13 year old friend took part in the strangulation death of 3 year old Brian Howe in the same Scotswood area.
Police later concluded that Mary returned to his body to carve an “M” into the boy’s abdomen. She also used scissors to cut off some of his hair, scratch his legs and mutilate his genitals.
On December 17, 1968, Norma Bell was acquitted but Mary Bell was convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The judge described her as dangerous and said she posed a “very grave risk to other children”.
Robert Thompson & John Venables:
In February 1993, two 10 year old boys lured a 2 year old away from his mom. The boys led James Bulger by the hand out of the mall where they planned to push him into oncoming traffic.
But then the boys switched plans and decided to travel two and a half miles through Walton, Liverpool to a set of railroad tracks.
At the railroad tracks, the boys stripped the little boy, stuffed batteries into his mouth, threw paint in his eye and bricks and stones at his body. Then dropped a 22 pound iron bar on him.
They used rocks to weigh his body down on the railroad tracks so a passing train would run over the boy’s body.
“Most killers have pretty average lifestyles. Steady jobs too. Sometimes they’re even living the family life-white picket fence and a four-door sedan. That’s what makes them so scary. They act human and they slot into society and since a young age they’ve known how to hide the crazy; they put it up on a shelf and only bring it out on special occasions.” ― Paul Cleave, The Killing Hour
Eric Smith was a loving boy until he was diagnosed with intermittent explosive disorder. This mental disorder causes individuals to act out violently and unpredictably.
The boy was a loner and often bullied due to his appearance. He had protruding low-set ears, thick glasses, red hair, and freckles.
When Eric was a young child he killed, tortured, and disemboweled animals. He once set fire to the family stove.
In August 1993 at age 13, Eric Smith murdered 4 year old Derrick Robie after luring him into the woods on their way to summer camp. Eric hit him over the head with a rock, strangled him and sodomized him with a tree limb.
He was charged with second-degree murder and is currently in a medium security prison in New York State. Eric Smith is eligible for parole every two years and was first denied parole in August 2002. His next parole hearing is October 2021.
Children Who Kill Are Often Victims Too:
These children often have been severely abused or neglected and have experienced a tumultuous home life. They can have severe attachment problems, often the result of unreliable and ineffective care giving and a history of abuse.
The child may have witnessed or experienced violence or been rejected or abandoned by a parent.
Problems in the home are particularly influential. If a child witnesses or experiences violence, they are likely to repeat violence in other situations. (Psychology Today)