Local News

Durham Attorney Fights For British Youths Who Killed At Age 10

Posted June 23, 2001 1:23 a.m. EDT

— A murder case an ocean away has ties to the Bull City. Eight years ago, two British boys were convicted of killing a two-year-old. Tonight, the boys have their freedom -- thanks to the work of a Durham attorney. But not everyone is happy.

The parents of the victim are outraged that their son's killers will be released. But Durham attorney Tom Loflin felt so strongly that the suspects should never have been criminally charged, he spent the last seven years fighting for their freedom.

"I've been waiting for this a long time," says Loflin.

Eight years ago, Loflin was moved by a crime that shocked almost everyone in Great Britain when the two young boys were charged and convicted for kidnapping, torturing and killing the two-year-old. The suspects were only 10 at the time.

"I felt they'd suffered a huge and gross injustice and felt someone needed to do something about it," he says.

Loflin says the boys had poor lawyers. So he rounded up a new defense team and spent years proving the British courts had violated their civil rights.

"What the U.K. did could not be allowed. In my view, they shouldn't have been held criminally responsible at all, they were too young," he says.

Now 18, both boys will be released soon. They'll be given protection and new identities.

"It's not going to be easy, I think they realize that. I think they are somewhat apprehensive, but I also think they're determined to succeed," says Loflin.

The teens will have some restrictions. They will not be able to have contact with one another, and they will not be able to contact the victim's family.

Interestingly, while Loflin specializes in criminal law, in his 31 year career, he had never practiced any kind of international law until this case.