Kids Who Kill

The Kobe child murders, The Sasebo slashing, Eric Smith, the “Teacup Poisoner,” The Boston Boy Fiend, William York, Mary Bell, Amarjeet Sada, Carl Mahan, The Slender Man, and Jon Venables and Robert Thompson. Plus pop culture.

Music: “Angels With Dirty Faces” by Cab Calloway (vocals June Richmond)



23 Responses

  1. BC is weird when it comes to Age of Majority. Most car rental agencies in BC require the renter to be 21-24 years of age. As you pointed out, 19 is the legal drinking age, and the age at which one can marry on his or her own. One can vote at 18 and participate in determining political leaders, and can join the military and kill or be killed while enforcing national will. At 17, a British Columbian can donate blood, and at 16 one can marry with approval of the supreme court. Moreover, a 12 year old can consent to sexual activity with another young person who is less than two years older and with whom there is no relationship of trust, authority or dependency or other exploitation of the young person.
    We are all over the map.

    We are kind of all over the map.

  2. British pronunciations…
    Suffolk = Suffuk
    James Bulger = James Bulge er
    And did I hear you say Mans Laughter?! Man Slaughter.

    Love the show! 🙂

      1. That’s the one, g as in giraffe. Bulger as in one who bulges.

        Mans Laughter made me grin 😀

  3. Quick follow-up: The Sasebo slasher also faces a charge of attempting to kill her father.

    “The 16-year-old girl has admitted to striking her 52-year-old father on the head with a metal baseball bat while he was asleep in his home on March 2 last year, causing an injury that took two weeks to heal, according to the police.

    They served the fresh arrest warrant on her Tuesday.”

  4. Thought about the kid whose sentence was commuted to life in prison… a life in solitary confinement might have been a worse fate than execution. :-/

  5. That one was a lot harder to listen to than I expected. Just such terrible stories. I have daughters at 5 and 8 right now, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Very informative, guys.

  6. Note: I apologize that this story exists at all.

    With regard to the age of majority for females being only 8 in Saudi Arabia (and Iran), it reminded me of a news story from late 2013:

    Snopes classifies this one as “undetermined,” but it seems to have some legit cred. Even though Wikipedia lists the age of majority for women in Yemen to be 18, we already know there are often exceptions for those being married.

    And this is an example why.

  7. You finally did it, this is the first episode I couldn’t finish. With two boys at home, ages 4 and 9 it hit a bit too close to home… Still a great job, just… horrible. :O

  8. I was in Japan as an exchange student in 1997 when the Kobe child murders happened. All over the media it was; it freaked the frak out of a lot of people.

    I then returned to Japan in 2004, about a month after Sasebo slashing and it was a similar story in the media. I got the impression that some people were more shocked it was a girl that committed the crime.

  9. Speaking of a jury of child peers.
    When I was in primary school one of my teachers ran an odd little project where the students were to imagine they were stranded on an island lord of the flies style. A large map of our make believe kingdom was pinned to the class room wall. Each week we would be asked what we were up to and be assigned a project based on our answer.

    When one of the girls in class was leaving for a holiday the teacher asked us to determine why she wasn’t going to be in the narrative any more. The class decided she was dead and an imaginary funeral was promptly held with her laying on some chairs in the muddle of the room.

    Things took an even more disturbing turn when it was decided that she had been murdered and an imaginary trial was arranged in which I was enlisted as the prosecutor.
    Needless to say it was a tricky case especially with the “victim” sitting in but we succeeded in finding two of the class bullies guilty. The teacher, whom had a allowed this to proceed in a kind of horrified curiosity, stepped in when our little society began to call for the death penalty and commuted their sentences to hard labour before an imaginary executioner could be appointed from amongst our number.

    She was a good deal less creative with class projects after that.

  10. I’m surprised you guys didn’t make the Belle Gunness connection with The Bad Seed! Per the wiki:

    “Bessie Denker:
    March [author of the original book] based Bessie Denker on real-life serial killer Belle Gunness. She is the biological mother of Christine Penmark and the grandmother of Rhoda Penmark. Christine faintly remembers living with her biological family and escaping from her mother. Bessie Denker never makes a physical appearance in the novel. The character’s life and murderous history is thoroughly described in the notes of Reginald Tasker. Bessie Denker’s career is based very roughly on the real-life careers of Belle Gunness and Jane Toppan. The description of her execution in the electric chair is based on that of Ruth Snyder.”

  11. No joy for the Midwich Cuckoos? 🙂 I guess they were alien though, so it might not have counted. Excellent book though.

    I also just finished a book called “Sea of Glass” by Barry B. Longyear from 1987, and I have to say it was absolutely excellent. It’s a dystopian future where America is totalitarian and has severe reproduction constraints. Any illegal child is put in an orphanage, which is more like a prison than anything else, where the wardens get a bit enthusiastic with discipline occasionally and the orphans die – in response the orphans organise themselves into secret gangs who get the wardens back, knocking them off in return. In any case there’s plenty of ‘kids who kill’ material in it. It’s a bit gruesome in parts, but I’m sure that’d be welcome by most people around these parts. Highly recommended.

  12. Just finished training to be a foster parent in the U.S., full of plenty of awful tales to make you scared of children. The psychologist who wrote some of the material said that abused children sometimes act out what was done to them as a coping mechanism. As terrible as THAT can be, it seems like many of these kids must have had some extra sociopathic tendencies. Obviously, no one had killed them before… Perhaps they had witnessed similar things though.

    I’m not sure about violent crimes, but I know juvenile sex offenders are unlikely to be perpetrators as adults with counseling etc. So a real bummer if they get sentenced as adults and labeled for life.

  13. Strange little shout out in this one. I found you guys through a Something Awful thread on Darkest of the Hillside Thickets thread waaaay back when you were on episode ~6 or so and I’ve been a fan ever since. I also made the second (2) slender man image ever back in 2006 and I have to say, its very odd seeing it floating around to this day and knowing that kids are killing each other over it :S

  14. For the pop culture section, how about the movie Mean Creek?

    I don’t know that I would say it’s a *great* movie, but it is thought provoking at least. It deals with concepts like bullying, absent parental figures, and because the cast spans different ages it make it harder to assess how much responsibility each character really has in the events that unfold.

    This trailer basically consists of the whole movie condensed down to 2 minutes.