Friday, December 12, 2008

Teah Wimberly, 15-year-old Shooter Charged as an Adult

The Miami Herald reports on the Dillard High School shooting which we discussed before.

Teah Wimberly, the teen accused of shooting and killing her best friend at Dillard High School last month, will face second-degree murder charges as an adult, prosecutors announced Thursday.

Wimberly, 15, will also face one count of felony possession of a firearm on school grounds.

In our previous discussions I tried to point out that, as I see it, by the time a teenager picks up a gun to do something like this, it's way too late. The time to address this problem was 10 or 14 years earlier. It's the parents who more than anyone else teach kids how to deal with conflict, how to respond to frustration, how to accept disappointment. Once a kid is this age and so damaged she's capable of this, it's too late.

Collette, 15, had recently ended the two teens' long-standing friendship and the shooting may have been retaliation, friends of the two said afterward.

Wimberly confessed to the shooting and told police she wanted Collette to ``feel my pain.''

Where did a 15-year-old ever learn to respond to rejection like that? Is she fully responsible for her actions? Did we ever decide on that line when discussing the 8-year-old killer in Arizona? At 8, he's an abused boy but at 15 she's fully responsible? I don't think so.

I say any and all mitigating circumstances need to be considered in a case like this. Trying a teenager in adult court, ensuring the probability of doing time in the adult penitentiary cannot be the answer, in my opinion. What's yours? What do you think about this case?


  1. "Did we ever decide on that line when discussing the 8-year-old killer in Arizona?"

    yeah I decided that the Police and Media were pushing the facts of the case beyond their breaking point, and that it would be foolish to further speculate on sound bytes from such a screwy case. (I personally think the kid was Coursed into inventing the murder story when the police decided the truth, that a white sedan drove away and the boy found his family dead)

    A lawyer said to me once that "Adulthood" has a double meaning. One is the simple age of majority. one evening at 11:59 you're a minor child, at one minute past midnight you're a full-fledged adult. The other involves the way the person deals with life and responcibility. This lawyer said he had tried 15 year old gang-bangers who KNEW the full extend of their action and the consequences of the law and still committed an act of murder, and knew people who were in their 30s who weren't mentally competent enough to know the course of their actions surrounding a death by their hands.

    The latter could be a prime example of an "Insanity" charge, the former is a prime example for pushing for a juvenile to be tried as an adult.

  2. Mike,

    I wish the court system would be revised to make it a difference between knowing the right/wrong of your actions and not.

    As Weer'd said, it's not about age it's about responsibility. King Tut reigned when he was 12 years old. "Youngsters" were married on the western frontier at 16. Many of men have enlisted and served honorably after lying about their age.

    I agree that mitigating circumstances should be considered but have you thought about the possibility there aren't any?

    I've personally have experienced this with my family. Raised the same way, by the same parents, with the same values; my younger brother and I couldn't be further apart in our actions. There are some people who just will not accept society rules. They know the rules and just don't care.

    Not every criminal is an abused person or is mentally incapable.

    Some folks are just capable of a level of evil that we find difficult to comprehend...or do we?
    Is it the fear that we may be capable of the same evil that drives some to want to classify criminals as mentally incompetent so we can excuse their behavior and the possibility we would act the same way?

  3. Execution cleans up the gene pool and dis-allows further infractions.

  4. Bob S.

    My Friend of the Practical Pistol Academy turned 16 landing on Okinawa.

    He later served as a CHP officer and a Civil Engineer of some renown for the state of California before having his arm twisted to start a shooting academy.

    He shot a lot of Japanese when he was 16 years old but he never once killed a person as a CHP officer, even when it would have been justified.

    I bet he knew what he was doing when he was 15 too.

    My sister and I grew up in the same family and were treated the same and I wanted to grow up to fly military helicopter gunships or be a mercenary, she wanted to be a librarian.

    Some say nature, some say nurture, I say both.

    But I will say, most of a person's personality tends to be evident by the time they are about 10 years old, +/- a year or two.

  5. Weer'd described it well, and Bob said he agreed. Doesn't that argue for compassion and leniency and against all this accountability business?

  6. I'd say the other way around, Mike.

  7. Some boxes cannot be unopened. She should be tried as an adult.

    Both families have lost something but Teah's can see her and talk to her in prison.

  8. Thanks Joe for the comment. I saw your other one on the Wordpress site too.

    So, is what you're talking about really vengeance; is it the old "eye for an eye" thing?