Accused 11-Year-Old Murderers Escape New Juvenile Laws
Posted April 6, 1999
HENDERSON — Vance Countytwins stand accusedof killing their father and wounding their mother and sister. However, theJuvenile Justice Reform Act, which will hold underage offenders more accountable for their crimes, will not affect their case.
Last session lawmakers voted to make the juvenile laws more severe because of the increasing number of kids accused of committing violent crimes. The most recent case is the 11-year-old Bawcum twins.
"In the 25 years I've been doing this, I don't believe I've seen this situation with a child this young with this serious a charge against them," says Don Hargrove with the Office of Juvenile Justice.
If the twins are found delinquent, they will face fewer ramifications from their actions than if the shooting had occurred after July 1, the date the new laws take effect.
Under the new code, juveniles can be detained until they are 21, instead of 18. They could face 90 days of post release supervision, and be fingerprinted. Their record would also reflect the crime, and could be used against them in the future.
"Should they be released at 21 and get into something else as adults, this record could be looked at or used by the district attorney," Hargrove said.
The new juvenile codes were designed with more of the public's safety in mind.
"We need to make sure we have a system in place that tries to treat everybody fairly, but also [that we] have a concern for the safety of the rest of us," says Richard Moore, secretary of theDepartment of Crime Control and Public Safety.