The various complexities of a juvenile life sentence. There is a lot to consider. At what time is a developing child past the point of no return, and who are we to say? Is the juvenile pedophile more capable of rehabilitation than a juvenile murderer? Let us suppose
for a moment each case is handled with the care and sensitivity that any sentence carrying the weight & finality of death should warrant. Even then still, how can any person argue that a still developing brain and persona is damaged beyond repair for the entirety of that persons remaining life? Isn't the very notion completely presumptive and dangerously dismissive? After all, we are talking about a human life. When does the victim tally stop ?
Allow me to offer a set of 4 questions that, when asked and answered truthfully, could help prevent the further loss and waste of life concerning juvenile death sentences. As well as preserve the fairness, integrity, and balance of our legal system.
#1. Could the crime in question have been avoided or prevented had the offender in question been better supervised, or placed in a more supportive and conducive environment?
#2. Is the offender in question a victim of gross abuse/negligence - at the hands of his/her guardian?.
#3. Does the offender suffer from any permanent cognitive or psychiatric handicaps, so much so that it could prevent rehabilitation and reintegration into society?
#4. Is, for any reason, the offender in question permanently incapable of acquiring the skill set needed to become a healthy, productive member of society?
Upon being abandoned by his last remaining parent, a young Lee Malvo was soon in the awaiting grasp of John Allen Muhammad.
Muhammad, a veteran of the Gulf war, was described as a man "damaged" from his wartime enlistment. When the pair crossed paths Muhammad took full advantage of the then minor child. From sexual assaults, to brainwashing and manipulation, the lonely and desperate boy from Jamaica had wondered into the awaiting hands of a monster. All while seeking the attentions and approval of what appeared to be a strong and positive male role model.
Lee Boyd Malvo was not born a murderer. He was made one. A master of manipulation fashioned him into a teen soldier. Eager to do his bidding in a war planned for the revenge and redemption he craved against an unfair world. Ask yourself "where would Lee Malvo be today had he never met John Allen Muhammad"? Chances are it wouldn't be sitting in a cell, in confinement, in Red Onion State Penitentiary.