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  1. #1
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    FL - David Galarriago, 2, beaten to death, Jacksonville, 14 March 2011

    The 12-year-old who could become America's youngest ever 'lifer' for killing two-year-old brother

    Cristian Fernandez could become America's youngest ever 'lifer' after being charged as an adult over the murder of his two-year-old brother.




  2. #2
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    Sad story all around but it is the best thing that he is locked up for life since this wasn't just an accident. He broke his brothers leg before too. He is better locked up for life rather than out on the street to kill again.

  3. #3
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    retracted comments.
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    No way should a 12 year old be locked up forever. He needs treatment, help and punishment yes but not life in prison. IMO.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarahlou View Post
    No way should a 12 year old be locked up forever. He needs treatment, help and punishment yes but not life in prison. IMO.
    Good God, what have we become in this country! Not just a 12-year-old, but a 12-year-old who was born to a 12-year-old mother himself and neglected by her and abandoned by his father (who was in prison for impregnating the mother).

    The point isn't that we should feel sorry for this kid (though we should), but neither should we assume he is fully formed and all he can be. There are numerous studies that show children his age aren't fully aware of the consequences of their actions. How can we confine a child to life in prison for something he couldn't fully understand?

    By all means confine him to juvenile detention and get him appropriate treatment. But life in prison? Outrageous!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by porkchop View Post
    The 12-year-old who could become America's youngest ever 'lifer' for killing two-year-old brother

    Cristian Fernandez could become America's youngest ever 'lifer' after being charged as an adult over the murder of his two-year-old brother.



    The crime (and the child) are both chilling. But a life in prison from 12 unto death? Even for the "three square meals and a nice soft bed" crowd that's surely a living death, no?

    My niece is going on 12 -- I see no evidence that she's capable of thinking through the full consequences of her actions, or even operating with full intentionality, as most adults understand it (which requires means-end thinking of a pretty high order). Sounds like the balance of evidence supports a juvie sentence and intensive rehab efforts. Sad sad sad.

    s

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    Now charging the mother is another matter. I don't know all her circumstances, but the ones I do know are very sad and perhaps there is mitigation.

    But leaving your toddler alone with a 12-year-old who broke the toddler's leg 5 months ago?

    Sounds like the definition of negligence to me.

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    I hope they can place him in a proactive environment and I'm sure prison would not be the place. Punishment of course but in the right place he may have a chance. Mom? no comment.

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    I just read an aritcle full of information about the neglect and abuse that Christian endured during his short life, it is mind boggling! Sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect and his step father committed suicide in front of the boy!

    None of this is an excuse for what happened, but it seems what this child is is a result of his upbringing, children are not inherently evil.
    "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." Flannery O'Connor

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ella971 View Post
    I hope they can place him in a proactive environment and I'm sure prison would not be the place. Punishment of course but in the right place he may have a chance. Mom? no comment.
    I don't even know if punishment is appropriate. It may be; I just haven't seen all the facts. It appears he may have injured his sibling while wrestling with the younger child. So perhaps this is just a case of bad judgment, of playing too rough with a toddler.

    Yes, an adult should have known better after breaking the baby's leg in January. But it isn't unusual for a 12-year-old to make the same stupid mistake twice.

    Most of all, I agree that this kid needs considerable rehabilitation: psychological, social, educational and vocational. Merely warehousing him for six to nine years isn't going to help much, I'm afraid. (Not that our cheapness as a society is an excuse to lock him up forever.)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    Good God, what have we become in this country! Not just a 12-year-old, but a 12-year-old who was born to a 12-year-old mother himself and neglected by her and abandoned by his father (who was in prison for impregnating the mother).

    The point isn't that we should feel sorry for this kid (though we should), but neither should we assume he is fully formed and all he can be. There are numerous studies that show children his age aren't fully aware of the consequences of their actions. How can we confine a child to life in prison for something he couldn't fully understand?

    By all means confine him to juvenile detention and get him appropriate treatment. But life in prison? Outrageous!
    I agree something very wrong with this entire picture and how terribly sad either way you look at it

  12. #12
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    This is really a tough one. On one hand this poor kid never had a chance. On the other, I think some people are evil and can't be fixed. Society needs to be protected from them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maznblu1 View Post
    This is really a tough one. On one hand this poor kid never had a chance. On the other, I think some people are evil and can't be fixed. Society needs to be protected from them.
    I agree there are some people who can't safely life in society. But I don't see how we can know that when they are 12.

  14. #14
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    Imo, this case will become a debate of nature vs nuture. If we believe nature, this child was born evil. there is no hope. Lock him up. Throw away the key. Conversely, if we believe nurture, this child is a result of his environment. One that involved a pedophile father, a child-mother, a drug addicted grandmother, and a sorely ineffective division of child & family services system. Again, no hope. The child was doomed from the day he was born.

    As for me, I'm of the biopsychosocial model of behavior. This model looks at everything from genetics (biological), neural development (biological), personality (psychological), and environment (social). What this means is that there is no way of knowing whether he is genetically predisposed to impulse control problems, unless a full blown family history study is undertaken. As for neural development? He's only 12, and the part of the brain that regulates impulse control is not fully developed until mid-to-late 20s. Personality-wise? Again, that would require extensive evaluation. Importantly, he cannot be evaluated for anti-social personality disorder, or the more serious, sociopathy, and even more serious psychopathy, due to his developmental age.

    And even then, within this model and with all these tests, there is no reliable means to predict the final outcome... that is, whether this child will continue down a path of violence or can be taught to consciously make pro-social choices, and engage in pro-social behavior. I admittedly think there is always hope. Esp with someone that young.

    Regardless, I am of the opinion that to lock him up and throw away the key is society's final nail in this child's social coffin, and puts forth a clear and resounding message: we did not give two shakes about you before, and now that you did this, we really don't give two shakes about you.



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  15. #15
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    Well, sure I feel horrible about his upbringing and background. Extremely sad.

    However, how do we identify him in the future (if/when he is released from juv/prison) so other innocent children do not fall victim to his sad story? It's great to be compassionate and have empathy, but that still means we will have a disturbed individual walking the streets with the ability to hurt other children/people.

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