Local News

Teens Look Back on Crime With Regret

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James Williams, inmate
RALEIGH — After the violent shooting of two veteran officers in Harnett CountyTuesday, everyone is shaking their heads and asking how can people who areso young be so violent.

WRAL'sAmandaLambwent right to the source and asked some young people who had beenconvicted of murder that very question. What they said may surprise you.

"I hate that I assisted in taking the life of two other men," said JeremyHughes, inmate.

"The next day I shot him," said James Williams, inmate.

Two different young men, two very similar stories. They were both 17 whenthey were charged with murder, and now they're behind bars. The lure was alife of drugs, fast money and fitting in.

Marcia Morey, director of the Juvenile Crime Commission, says Hughes andWilliams' stories are familiar ones. She said in the last decade violent crimes by young people in the state have increased by 172 percent, andthere are several factors that contribute to the increase.

Dennis Cotton, a supervisor of the Wake County Juvenile court system, isdealing with an increasing number of violent teens. His goal is to keepthem from re-offending.

And sometimes it works. Williams said he regrets what he did, while Hughessaid he won't make the same mistakes again.

While rehabilitation is important, obviously the goal is to get to theyoung people before they become violent. The Juvenile Crime Commissionsays parental involvement plays an important part in prevention. Unfortunately studies show that nearly 80 percent of violent teens havejust one adult in the home, and that's not always a parent.

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