Lionel Tate Redux

In a disturbing case out of Florida that has loud parallels to the Lionel Tate saga from a few years back, a 12-year-old boy may face adult charges and a mandatory sentence of life without parole for fatally beating 17-month-old Shaloh Joseph, his cousin.

Last Friday the boy was at his cousin’s home watching cartoons when the baby started to cry; according to the police report, the boy became agitated by the interruption, picked up a wooden baseball bat and hit her several times. The AP reports that “she was pronounced dead later and was found to have suffered several skull fractures.” The boy, a ninety-pound seventh-grader who had no prior record, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. He appeared in juvenile court on Sunday morning, where a Broward County judge ordered him detained for at least three weeks. He is currently being held in a juvenile detention center until prosecutors decide how to handle the case.

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, though, that could take a while. The paper reports that Broward County prosecutors said Monday it could take up to a month for them to decide whether the boy will be tried as an adult or a juvenile. “For the second time in eight years, Broward prosecutors will have to decide whether a 12-year-old boy accused of murder should be prosecuted as an adult and, if convicted, face a mandatory sentence of life in prison with no parole; or whether he should go through the juvenile system and face a lesser punishment for what police call a brutal murder,” the paper explains.

“We have to look very carefully at these kinds of cases,” said Maria Schneider, Broward’s chief juvenile crimes prosecutor. “They are complicated and we are going to discuss every aspect of the case. We will make a decision that we feel is appropriate to reflect the seriousness of the crime and all the circumstances involved, including the age of the defendant.”

Sandy Perlman, one of the boy’s lawyers, is, naturally, arguing to keep the case in juvenile court. “The juvenile justice system is in place for a reason, and juvenile sanctions exist for a reason,” she told the AP.

* * *

Background on the Tate parallel: In 1999 12-year-old Lionel Tate was tried in Florida as an adult for fatally beating a 6-year-old girl playmate and sentenced to life in prison. In 2004 an appeals court overturned his first-degree murder conviction; he was released after pleading guilty to second-degree murder but returned to prison with a thirty-year sentence after violating probation.

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6 responses to “Lionel Tate Redux

  1. So people will blog how terrible this crime is, the boy should be beaten with a base ball bat to see what it feels like, and he should be given the death penalty, and the worst of the worst should happen to him. After they have blogged their frustrated pain and shock over this sensational crime, they will return to their smug lives and have accomplished absolutely nothing to prevent, stop, or diminish the existing practice of child abuse that is happing every day in vast numbers accross this country. The story of the murder of Shaloh Joseph doesn’t begin and stop with her death. There are many unanswered queststions society needs to know so it may prevent another senseless murder of innocence.

    In spite of the thousands of charities, and millions of links and web sites dealing with child abuse today, child abuse is increasing and not decreasing. Society hasn’t come up with one new tool to fight child abuse and reduce its practice except for the Museum of Innocence founded by Therese Daniels. If you who hear of and are hurt over the murder of Shaloh Joseph want to do more than agonized lip service about her death than support the Museum of Innocence and donate a dollar to help build a museum. Visit Shaloh Joseph’s memorial at wwwmuseumofinnocence.org. Donate a dollar to the museum on her behalf and help prevent child abuse and future stupid murders of innocent children.

  2. Theresa Corcovelos

    At least Broward Prosecutors are thinking it over THIS time!
    I watch my own grandchildren ALL the time so nothing can happen to them. I do not even leave my 14 year old son to watch them , even for a quick errand. Kids do stupid things, that’s life. The best way to avoid things like this is to be proactive.

  3. Pingback: Defendant in Shaloh Joseph Case to Stay in Juvie « Juvienation

  4. Jean Henry project

  5. I believe that anyone who brutaly murders a person wether they are a child or an adult should deserve the punishment that fits the crime. Both this case and the Tate case just shows that there are teens and young children out there that are just as cabable as any adult to murder or seriously hurt another human being. As for being mentally disabled and so forth it is just a way to cheat the system so the best way is to do a psych exam and go from there. But to be honest justice is not served for some because it dont bring back their lost love but some do beleive that if you can stop someone from being a murderer or a rapist or anything else is to make more of a chance to help those that are mentally disabled. To ignor a child is a form of abuse and in general it all needs to stop.

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