NH - Kassandra - Benjamin - Mason Sweeney Shot to Death in Northfield - Juvenile Charged

worm

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Clearly LE won't release identifying information about the juvenile arrested. Does this mean the public won't receive any further information about these murders?

This has me confused since the bad crimes I’ve heard of kids doing usually turn into them being treated as an adult. I guess we will know more if we get an age but they are usually pretty closed about those kids handled as actual minors.
 

tlcya

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Clearly LE won't release identifying information about the juvenile arrested. Does this mean the public won't receive any further information about these murders?
Good question. I don't know the answer. Even when tried as juveniles, for serious offenses such as murder, we will probably hear more about the case when prosecution and trial get closer. Also probably depends on the age of the juvenile, whether mental health is an issue, whether their case is transferred to superior court or stays in juvenile court system, and the laws in NH specific to juvenile prosecution.

I found this info on the criteria in NH for transferring a juvenile court case to superior for more serious felony offenses.

New Hampshire
Lower Age:None specified
Upper Age:16

Discretionary WaiverNHS Tit. XII, Sec. 169-B:24
Sec. 628:1
The case of a child 15 or older charged with any felony, or that of a child of at least 13 charged with one of a list of specified felonies, may be transferred to superior court following a transfer hearing at which the child is entitled to the assistance of counsel. The juvenile court must consider a number of criteria in making the transfer determination, and any transfer order must be supported by "a written statement of findings and reasons." Following a transfer order, if the case is "accepted by the superior court," that court "may dispose of all criminal charges arising out of the incident which led to" the transfer.
If the petition for transfer to superior court is filed by a child of at least 16, the juvenile court may transfer the child without making the findings that would otherwise be required.

Offense CategoryMinimum AgeOffense Detail
Certain Felonies15Any felony.
Murder13First and second degree murder, manslaughter, attempted murder.
Person13First and second degree assault, kidnapping, aggravated felonious sexual assault, criminal restraint, class A felony robbery.

Presumptive WaiverNHS Tit. XII, Sec. 169-B:24(IV)
In cases that meet statutory age/offense/prior record criteria, the law creates a presumption that the factors that must be considered by the juvenile court in ruling on a transfer petition support a transfer to the superior court.

Offense CategoryMinimum AgeOffense Detail
Certain Felonies15Any felony committed by a child with at least 4 separate delinquency adjudications.
Murder15First and second degree murder, manslaughter, attempted murder.
Person15First degree assault; second degree assault (except when it consists merely of purposely or knowingly injuring a child under 13); kidnapping; aggravated felonious sexual assault; criminal restraint; class A felony robbery.
Drug15Manufacturing, selling, prescribing, administering, or transporting controlled drugs in specified quantities, or possessing them with intent to sell, dispense, or compound them.
New Hampshire's Transfer Laws
 

Chelly

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This has me confused since the bad crimes I’ve heard of kids doing usually turn into them being treated as an adult. I guess we will know more if we get an age but they are usually pretty closed about those kids handled as actual minors.
*Worm: I suspect the severity of the crimes may result in this minor being treated as adult by LE.

*Thanks @ticya for NH Transfer Laws info. You must have been reading my mind when I posted this.
 
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fred&edna

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Different circumstances but murder charges against juveniles, nonetheless. And, I'm surprised one (or more?) of the juveniles have been named by LE. I would assume that if a family member of an accused juvenile chose to speak to a reporter for publication, those comments would be made public, as I've seen in this case. I mean, what would prevent a family member from speaking publicly... with or without state laws regarding juvenile felony charges or transference to adult court (except from possibly naming charged youth in a publication)??

 

worm

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Different circumstances but murder charges against juveniles, nonetheless. And, I'm surprised one (or more?) of the juveniles have been named by LE. I would assume that if a family member of an accused juvenile chose to speak to a reporter for publication, those comments would be made public, as I've seen in this case. I mean, what would prevent a family member from speaking publicly... with or without state laws regarding juvenile felony charges or transference to adult court (except from possibly naming charged youth in a publication)??


It would seem to be a liability concern for the news outlet.
 

Ozoner

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*Worm: I suspect the severity of the crimes may result in this minor being treated as adult by LE.

*Thanks @ticya for NH Transfer Laws info. You must have been reading my mind when I posted this.
He probably will be treated as an adult if he's at least 13. If he's under 13, then he won't be, and we won't hear a whole heck of a lot, at least not through official channels.
 

MsBetsy

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Three people are dead. Three people. A baby and a toddler. Rehabilitation? How does someone ever rehabilitate from that?
Juveniles are usually eligible for counseling and/or psychiatric treatment, so they may have better chances than a minor in adult prison.

I don't think it's possible to know if any one individual can be rehabilitated, especially without knowing any details.
 

MassGuy

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It would seem to be a liability concern for the news outlet.
I think it comes down to protocol, and most outlets follow the same standards; just "best practices" basically.

In some countries there are actually gag orders placed on the media, but that's not a thing here. So I don't think they would be in any sort of jeopardy.

 

Nobody_special

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Clearly LE won't release identifying information about the juvenile arrested. Does this mean the public won't receive any further information about these murders?
It’s highly unlikely that the public won’t receive further information. The issue here is what NH law allows law enforcement to reveal unless/until the juvenile is charged as an adult, which will almost certainly be the case here unless the juvenile is deemed unfit to stand trial as an adult.

These laws vary by state. Florida, Pennsylvania, and NH (where I happen to live) all differ from each other.

Those laws do not cover the media, however. The media, if they are so inclined, can release the juvenile’s name if they obtain it *legally*—in other words, not from sealed or classified information. This was established in Smith v Daily Mail in 1979:


This article from the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) covers the legalities from a student newspaper perspective and was, at least to me, very informative:

 

Nobody_special

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<modsnip - quoted post was removed for diagnosing a psychological condition without being verified as qualified to do so>

“A juvenile has been arrested and charged under the juvenile laws with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of falsifying physical evidence in connection with the homicides of Kassandra Sweeney, age 25, and her two sons Benjamin Sweeney, age 4, and Mason Sweeney, age 1, in Northfield on August 3, 2022.”

From the release:

 
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sripey

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MOO. I think this juvenile has significant mental illness. I believe this juvenile has previously spent time in a mental institution. I believe this juvenile was recommitted to an institution after the murders to regain some type of mental stability. This explains why law enforcement knew of all parties involved at the very beginning, but had not made an arrest. I believe this juvenile was arrested after being determined to have regained some mental stability.

MOO
 

Hexe

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MOO. I think this juvenile has significant mental illness. I believe this juvenile has previously spent time in a mental institution. I believe this juvenile was recommitted to an institution after the murders to regain some type of mental stability. This explains why law enforcement knew of all parties involved at the very beginning, but had not made an arrest. I believe this juvenile was arrested after being determined to have regained some mental stability.

MOO
Juveniles tend to leave a streak of evidence behind as their levels of knowledge/reasoning abilities are not good enough to deal with it efficiently. So it is very possible that this particular underage perp left enough of evidence to become a prime suspect from the get go and that's why there was no arrest despite all the parties being known. Mentally ill people are much more often threat to themselves than to other people and speculations like above are nothing but stigmatisation.
 

HongKongPhooey

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I'm hoping they were all asleep. Imo
Me too.

Unless I missed something, LE are not divulging info re the 911 call which I find telling in itself.

I can imagine a scenario where the alleged killer made the call, claiming to have found the bodies. 11.30am would be a late wake up for a mum with two youngsters, so he may have waited a few hours, or tampered with the scenes in some way.

Due to the location, and the arrested person being a juvenile, I can also imagine they lived with the family.

If they were clearly having a mental episode of some kind when services arrived, or appeared to be, they could have been detained securely on that basis which would explain why in the presser it was said that everyone believed to be involved was located.

All JMO
 
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