Monday, May 10, 2010

Sleep-walking Murderer

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports on the sleep-walking murder committed by a 14-year-old.

The parents of a 14-year-old Colorado Springs boy accused of killing his brother and wounding their mother pleaded with a judge Friday to keep his case in juvenile court.

“I just want you to give my son a chance to get to a special hospital, not to go to jail,” Ulysses Gudino Sr. said at the end of a weeklong hearing on whether his son Daniel should be tried as an adult. The father vowed to do “whatever is necessary to help our son.”

Daniel is accused of shooting his 9-year-old brother to death and shooting and stabbing his mother, Marina, on May 18, 2009, in the family’s home at 1837 Chapel Hills Drive.

Marina Gudino told Judicial District Judge David L. Shakes that her son should not be punished for their failure to recognize the seriousness of his symptoms. Doctors testified during the week that the boy suffered from sleep disorders, hallucinations and possibly a developing mental illness.

Jeralyn from Talk Left says, "Of course he should be tried as a juvenile. It's why we have a juvenile justice system." I couldn't agree more with the part of Jeralyn's remark that implies it's wrong to charge juveniles as adults, but shouldn't charges simply be dropped? How can someone be held responsible for what they do while sleep-walking, regardless of their age?

Of course, that leads to the usual question for me. Who is responsible? I find it unbelievable that in all these discussions about whether he should be tried as an adult or not no one wants to know where the gun came from and how he was able to access it during the night. Who's in charge of the guns in that house? Certainly not a kid, not one with serious problems like this one.

The mother in pleading with the judge admitted it's not his fault but hers and her husband's "for their failure to recognize the seriousness of his symptoms." That admission was not specific enough. It should have been, "for their failure to recognize the seriousness of his symptoms and make sure there were no guns and knives handy."

In Colorado they like to give the widest possible interpretation to gun rights, and when something goes wrong they like to take the focus off the gun availability completely.

Yet, regardless of this coverup by the Colorado gun-friendly press, once again it's about gun availability. Mentally ill teenage sleep-walkers should not have access to guns during the night, and if they do and something goes wrong, the parents should be held responsible.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

1 comment:

  1. Of course, Jeralyn ignores the larger of the two issues--the fact a kid with some apparently very serious issues was able to get access to his parents' gun.

    It's all fine and well to declare the kid ought to be tried as a juvenile vice an adult. To my mind, this is akin to worrying about whether you left the lights on in your office as you watch your house burn down.