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A 10-year-old boy has been charged with the murder of his mother, Deborah McVay, 46. The boy, whose name has not been released due to his age, allegedly shot and killed his mother with a single shot to the head from a .22 caliber rifle he received as a Christmas present. Deborah McVay was found by police lying face down on her living room floor, Reuters reports. McVay lived near Cleveland, Ohio.
Beulah Mae Mike, the boy's grandmother, said that the boy should have never had a gun in the first place."He was too young to have a gun," Mike said. "[it] had to be an accident."
According to a neighbor, the boy told her that he had just shot his mother.
The boy, who is being charged as a juvenile, is being held at Richland County Juvenile Detention. He has entered a plea of "denial." In Ohio juvenile cases, "denial," is comparable to "not guilty" in an adult court, Reuters reports.
In murder cases involving juveniles, the prosecutor often seeks to try the minor as an adult. However, this is not one of those cases. County Prosecutor Steve Knowling said they do not plan to try the boy as an adult, The Associated Press reports.
In this case, trying a 10 year old is difficult whether in juvenile court, or adult court. As we recently reported here at FindLaw.com, most charges require that the defendant is capable of understanding their actions. The younger a minor is, generally, the less likely it is that they will be charged as an adult. Even if he had been tried as an adult, he would not have been eligible for the death penalty.
In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that executing a murderer whose capital crime was committed at the age of 17 or less constituted "cruel and unusual punishment" under the Eighth Amendment.