WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- On Wednesday, John Duane VanMeter, a professional boxer in Texas was allegedly shot dead by a 12-year-old boy in his home on Wednesday.
- VanMeter’s girlfriend said that the boy lived with them for 2 months but has threatened people before.
- The boy is charged with capital murder and may face 40 years in prison if convicted.
What could drive a 12-year-old boy to kill a man?
A 24-year-old professional boxer in Texas who had two recent victories on his belt was killed in his home on Wednesday by a masked shooter. The suspect, a 12-year-old boy, is now charged with capital murder, the most serious felony on the books.
“A kid who commits murder isn’t thinking about the law. … We’re dealing with somebody who has been seriously abused or neglected or is mentally ill,” said Robert Dunham, Death Penalty Information Center executive director.
John Duane VanMeter began boxing some years ago in the super featherweight division. Born in Anaheim, California, he had two children and was a member of the Tree City Boxing in Uvalde.
The club posted on Facebook: “We are at a loss for words. It’s a sad sad night, not just for Tree City Boxing, but for our entire community. Please keep the VanMeters in your prayers.”
His girlfriend, Sammy Arellano, who has filled her Facebook account with VanMeter’s pictures and posts and whom she plans to marry told the San Antonio Express-News that the boy had been sleeping on their couch for the past two months. She also said that even before, the boy had threatened people including her son.
Because the Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional to impose capital punishment on someone younger than 18, the boy wouldn’t face the death penalty. However, he could face 40 years of incarceration if convicted, said Dunham.
Even though the boy is among the youngest defendants charged with capital murder, this is hardly a surprise in Texas. According to the Harris County juvenile division chief Steven Halpert, prosecutors often pursue the highest possible charge they believe they can prove.
“They’re going to charge with the crime whether the person is 12 or 60.” “They believe that the public demands that,” he added.
While police did not offer a motive, experts say burglary may be a motive in the boy’s case, due to the fact that the killer broke into VanMeter’s home in Uvalde all dressed in black with his face covered.
In the meantime, little has been reported about the boy’s family or life since no records about him are publicly available, according to child protective services.
The boy who is now in a juvenile detention center will stay there if convicted until he’s 19 or depending on the length of the sentence. Afterwards, he goes back to court where a judge decides whether he be transferred to an adult prison or be placed on parole for the rest of his sentence, said Halpert.
Source: Washington Post