“I murder so that I may come back.”
In May of 1968, the day before Mary Bell turned 11, she strangled a 4-year-old boy named Martin Brown in an abandoned house. A short time later, she and a 13 year-old friend broke into an orphanage and smashed the place up. They left notes that claimed responsibility for Brown’s murder, but the police just assumed that it was a prank.
That July, the pair kidnapped and murdered 3-year-old Brian Howe and left his body on a nearby wasteland - but not before Mary mutilated him and carved an “M” into his stomach.
She was only convicted with two counts of manslaughter, both because of her young age and her psychiatric evaluation, in which she showed all the common signs of psychopathy. She was held until the age of 23 and then set free, which she remains to this day.
In November 2015, Jaine Ferreira went into her backyard in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil to check on her 17-month-old son, Lorenzo. When she found him, he was covered in blood with a snake struggling to get free from his mouth. Terrified, the Jaine grabbed the toddler and rushed him to the hospital. But when doctors examined him, they found no injuries and no signs of poisoning. Apparently, Lorenzo had found the snake, bitten it, and killed it, all before it could hurt him. The snake turned out to be a jararaca, which is an Amazonian viper that happens to be one of the most venomous snakes in the Americas.
Barry Dale Loukaitis
“This sure beats the hell out of Algebra.”
One cold February afternoon in 1996, 15 year-old Barry Dale Loukaitis walked into his algebra classroom dressed like a Wild West gunslinger. He was armed to the teeth and opened fire on his classmates. He killed two students and his Algebra teacher, saying in the panic, “This sure beats the hell out of algebra, doesn’t it?”
Loukaitis had planned to take one of the students hostage and to use him to get out of the school. Instead, a gym teacher heard the gunshots and offered to be the hostage when he stumbled upon the scene. The teacher then wrestled the gun from Loukaitis’s hands and subdued him until police arrived.
Loukaitis is currently serving two life sentences with an additional 205 years on top of that.
Jesse Pomeroy was born in 1860. Between the winter and fall of 1871 (when he was 11), he captured and tortured 4 younger boys. When he was caught, he was sent to a reform school, where he was supposed to stay until he was 21. He was let out early on good behavior after a year and a half.
Unfortunately, that was when he began to kill. When he was 14, Pomeroy kidnapped and killed a little girl. Shortly thereafter, he murdered a four year-old boy in such a gruesome way that he almost decapitated him.
When police found the victim and came to think of Pomeroy as a suspect, they questioned him. When asked if he killed the boy, his response was a cold, unfeeling “I suppose I did.”
Most people that heard about the case wanted the death penalty, and he was actually sentenced to hang. However, the governor refused to sign the death warrant, and Pomeroy's sentence was altered to life in prison and solitary confinement.
see more on Jesse Pomeroy
Robert Thompson and Jon Venables
In 1993, these two 10 year-old boys did the unthinkable. When they saw three year-old James Bulger walking with his mother in the mall, they grabbed him and led him away. They did all sorts of terrifying things to him: beat him, threw bricks at him, piled stones on his head, sexually violated him with batteries... Then, when they finally killed him, they left Bulger's body on a set of train tracks to be cut in half. The poor boy had so many injuries that it could not be determined which was the cause of his death.
It's hard to imagine adults committing such a terrible crime, and yet Robert Thompson and Jon Venables were only 10 years old. They each, of course, blamed the other for the crimes and were eventually convicted. The were held for 8 years until their trial was deemed unfair. Then they were freed and granted lifetime anonymity so that they could not be tracked down by a vengeful public.
“All he alleged was that the child fouled the bed in which they lay together, that she was sulky, and that he did not like her.”
In 1748, at 10 years old, William York was imprisoned for the murder of five year-old Susan Mayhew. A newspaper at the time actually published the grisly details of the crime along with an illustration of the murder.
York was convicted under a code of law that required the death penalty. It was warned that a failing to convict him could make other 10 year-old boys think that they could murder girls that they “did not like” and found “sulky."
But still, judges were not prepared to kill a small child, so they delayed the execution time after time until 1757. At that point, York was pardoned and admitted into the Royal Navy - which beats Great Britain’s old method of criminal disposal: dumping them in Australia.
"Instead of me being hurt, I was hurting someone else."
In 1993, when he was 13 years old, Eric Smith brutally murdered four year-old Derrick Robie. The boy was walking from his house to a recreation program a block away when Smith grabbed and dragged him to a nearby wooded area. He beat Robie rocks, sodomized him with a stick, and kept mutilating and abusing his body once he was dead. It was one of the most heinous acts committed - let alone by a child - that the United States had ever seen.
Smith is currently serving the maximum sentence for juvenile murderers, nine years to life in prison. He has been denied parole seven times since 2002, most recently in April 2014. One of the scariest details of the story is that everyone who has interviewed him since he committed the crime has said that they couldn't believe that they’re speaking with a murderer - he just seemed so normal and sincere.