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Teen who shot dad likely headed to juvenile detention center

Family members of a Kansas man who was allegedly killed by his son have stepped forward in court to support the teenage defendant. The young man, age 15, is charged with first-degree murder of his father. He is being charged with those crimes in juvenile court, however, so potential consequences for the crime may not be as severe. For example, teens convicted of certain crimes in the juvenile system may be held in a juvenile detention center, where the goal of the system is to rehabilitate the child. That is a stark contrast to the prisons that await those tried as an adult.

The defendant told the court that he had killed his father because the man abused him physically and sexually. Relatives said they did not realize that the abuse was so severe, largely because the child would never admit that it was occurring at all. Family members have rallied round the boy in court.

The shooting incident occurred in July when the teenager was preparing to visit his father. The man had arrived at a business facility owned by the boy's stepfather. The teen said goodbye to his mother and walked outside. Minutes later, the woman heard explosions, and the teen came back into the store explaining that he had shot his father. Experts say that the victim was shot 16 times.

A juvenile court services officer has recommended that the teen's case remain in juvenile court. The teen has been deemed a low-risk offender, meaning that this event was likely a one-time incident. The boy was trying to escape "years of unrelenting suffering," according to courtroom testimony. The juvenile court system exists to accommodate children just like this boy, who need help and counseling instead of severe punishment.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "In court, relatives support teen accused of killing father in Shawnee" Tony Rizzo, Jun. 10, 2014

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