A 15-year-old California boy, who raped and killed an 8-year-old neighbor, is getting defense from some liberal youth advocacy groups–who claim he was too young to understand what he was doing was wrong.
Liberal groups like the Youth Law Center, based in San Francisco, are coming to the defense of Adrian Jerry Gonzalez, the 15-year-old suspect, claiming that the district attorney should have asked a judge whether he’s fit to be tried as an adult.
If Gonzalez was tried as a juvenile, he would stay in juvenile hall–and would be released at the latest when he was 23, meaning he would serve just 7 or 8 years in prison for the rape and murder of his 8-year-old neighbor, Madyson Middleton.
Gonzalez is accused of luring Madyson, the daughter of his mother’s friend, to his family’s apartment, raping and murdering her, and then hiding her body in a recycling bin. Madyson was reported missing on Sunday, and her body was discovered on Monday night. Gonzalez was arrested soon after, though the police have released no official motive for the killing.
But despite the gruesome nature of the crime, many liberal advocates are urging the courts to go easy on Gonzalez, since a 15-year-old couldn’t possibly know that luring, raping, and murdering a little girl was wrong.
“There is no way on earth that a 15-year-old could have fully comprehended what he was doing,” said Barry Krisberg, an advocate of Gonzalez, who is a criminologist at the University of California, Berkeley. “He might be able to recount the events that resulted, but the notion that he comprehended the consequences of his action flies in the face of all the science we know.”
Advocates like Krisberg expect a judge and jury to believe that a 15-year-old boy not only was unable to comprehend that raping and then murdering a little girl was morally wrong–but that he didn’t even realize the legal consequences that such a crime would carry. A 15-year-old.
As of now, the courts are having none of that “logic.” Gonzalez will be tried as an adult, rather than a juvenile–a distinction that will almost certainly bring a much longer prison sentence.