Breaking Up Can Be Deadly

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #131When you’re in high school, being popular doesn’t necessarily make life easier. It can be just as difficult as being the lowest kid in the pecking order.

Like everyone, popular kids have the negative voice in their head telling them they’re fat or worthless, etc. Popular kids can come from turbulent homes.

BLOG POST #131: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving a popular high school student.

You’d think the popular football player, recently crowned Homecoming Prince, would be on top of the world. Instead, like so many teenagers, he kept his troubles inside.

Kids Will Be Kids – Right?

His parents didn’t understand the depth of their son’s depression. They knew he and his longtime girlfriend had broken up after Homecoming. And they knew he’d gotten into an altercation with another football player and was suspended for a few days.

Before school, his pleading texts to his ex-girlfriend went unanswered.

Not A Normal Day

To his mother, it was a normal day when she dropped her son off at school the same as she had done every day.

She didn’t know the day was far from normal. She had no clue her son had taken his father’s guns and ammunition with him that day.

Keep Your Friends Close

He asked friends to meet him in the cafeteria for first lunch. The friends joined him at a lunch table.

When he texted a photo of a gun to his ex-girlfriend, she called him, and they talked briefly.

And Then He Snapped

After the phone call with his ex-girlfriend, he bolted from his seat and shot his friends one by one—five friends.

He reloaded, and then shot himself.

Including the shooter, four kids died that day, and two were critically wounded.

Minutes before shooting anyone, he had texted a group of family members and apologized to the families of his victims. He said he needed to take his crew with him; he didn’t want to go alone.

Here’s my ‘Take Away’ on this case: Case after case, I read about parents who never thought their child would do what they did. And I’m not implying this tragedy wouldn’t have happened had the boy’s parents paid more attention to their son’s depression. At some point parents need to consider if their child is “down” about something they very well may be capable of suicide or murder-suicide.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel NovellaFind out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

The Tragic Death Of A Caring Educator

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #129Sadly, there was another school shooting this week. My thoughts and prayers go out to all who lost their loved one, to those injured, and to those who were frightened by the event.

Perpetrators of school shootings act for a broad range of reasons. And it isn’t always a student looking down the barrel of a gun.

BLOG POST #129: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific case involving a special needs teacher and her estranged husband.

Not Happily Ever After

The teacher and her husband dated for four years before they married. He was a pastor with a criminal history. She was known as a caring educator with a special affinity for working with children with learning disabilities.

The teacher’s mother was reported to have said her son-in-law changed after the two married. He began criticizing and belittling her daughter.

Three months after they wed, the teacher moved out.

Trouble Found Her At Work

A few weeks after the teacher moved out, her estranged husband walked into the school and used the pretense of dropping off something for his wife. He entered her elementary classroom, with 15 sets of little eyes watching, he shot and killed his wife before taking his own life. Gunfire also hit two students; one was fatally wounded.

The Rest Of The Story

To aid in the recovery from the horrific event, over the summer, the school received a $1 million makeover.

As parents arrived on the first day of school, they noticed a slowdown when entering the building. New security measures were in place at the entrance. Upon entering the school, they saw the hallways had been repainted with bright colors and featured inspirational quotes.

Memories of our lives, of our work and our deeds will continue in others.” – Rosa Parks

Tempered glass now lined the large windows in the interior classrooms. Classrooms now have locking steel doors and an exterior exit. The special needs classroom where the deadly shooting took place is now a project room, and the number on the door was changed. The special needs students have a new classroom across the hall.

Returning to a campus after an act of violence has occurred is extremely difficult. I applaud the school district for their effort to make the school as welcoming and positive as possible.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, here’s some helpful information: Domestic Violence & Abuse

Worth mentioning: The Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness reports 75% of domestic violence related homicides occur upon separation.

Here’s my ‘Take Away’: Schools can’t be expected to do background checks on coworkers’ spouses. Domestic violence is tricky, the person being abused is often afraid to say anything for fear the abuse will intensify or worse. There are always a few friends who know or strongly suspect what’s happening. Does the spouse excessively boast about how wonderful life is? That’s a clue; life may be far from wonderful. Whenever your gut tells you something is off, speak to the principal so he or she can know to be leery of the spouse.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading and caring about children!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel Novella

Find out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

Alumni Shooter at the Middle School

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Schools have safety policies, they perform drills to prepare for possible shooter scenarios, and they have put in place best practices. I’d venture a guess that most if not all schools now require visitors to ‘sign-in’ at the office and be issued a temporary visitor badge.

Sadly, there is no way to prepare for the school shooting in the case I’m sharing research on in the post.

BLOG POST #127: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific school shooting case involving a former middle school student.

Old Stomping Ground

On the day of the shooting, he first went to a sporting goods store to purchase ammunition for the high powered rifle he’d borrowed from his father without his father’s knowledge and had placed in the trunk of his car. Then he stopped for a fast food lunch before arriving at the middle school he attended twenty years ago.

Upon entering the middle school, he was advised by a custodian that he needed to go to the office. In the office, he told the secretary he wanted to see the new wing of the building and asked about certain teachers he had known. He signed in to receive a visitor’s badge and waited for school to let out.

The Inquiry

He asked a custodian if he’d gone to school there, the custodian responded that he had not.

He went outside and asked a group of students whether they attended the school. They answered that they did not.

No Turning Back

Returning to his car, he retrieved the rifle. By this time, the school had released, he approached another group of students and asked if they went to the middle school and one of them answered yes. He announced they were all going to die and fired a shot, hitting one 8th-grade student. And then reloaded and shot another 8th-grade student. Both students survived.

A Heroic Act

A fearless teacher raced to the gunman and tackled him to the ground. He and other employees held the shooter on the ground until law enforcement arrived.

Hard Life

Unemployed and struggling financially the shooter had been living with his father the previous five years. And no stranger to trouble, over the years the shooter had been charged with suspicion of menacing, assault, domestic violence, and driving under the influence.

The school shooter was charged with four counts of attempted murder, four counts of first-degree assault, two counts of child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, and unlawful possession of a weapon on school grounds.

Happy Defense

He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity on ten of eleven counts but guilty of unlawful possession of a weapon on school grounds.

The crime took place in one of 11 states that require prosecutors to prove a defendant was sane at the time of the crime rather than require the defense to prove insanity.

The judge sentenced him to 18 months in prison and indefinitely to a state mental hospital until doctors convince the judge that he is no longer a threat.

Worth mentioning: Five years after the middle school shooting, the court allowed the shooter limited, supervised outings twice a week to stress-free public places as the next step in his therapy at the state mental hospital. As you can imagine, the victims and their families were not happy about the decision.

Here’s my ‘Take Away’ 0n this case: This case is troubling because the father was the only person who may have seen his son’s behavior and concluded there might be a dangerous outcome. Parents can’t imagine their child would do something this horrible. And typically, parents stand by their child and say what they did was uncharacteristic behavior. Possibly schools need to tighten their best practices even more. Is it time to deny access to all who aren’t students or staff?

What do you think about this case? Your relevant comments about this post or any of the other posts are always welcome on the website.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading and caring about children!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel Novella

Find out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna  is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

 

Gunslinger At The Middle School

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

School violence, when it takes a deadly turn, is hard to comprehend. For as long as there have been schools, there have been fights between students. But school violence now happens far too frequent.

BLOG POST #121: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving middle school students.

Because it was an intensely cold winter morning, the middle school started two hours late.

Better To Have Stayed Home

The 14-year-old student skipped his morning classes to prepare for his afternoon assault.

Before leaving for school, he armed himself with his father’s fully loaded weapons; rifle, revolver and semiautomatic pistol. He strapped to his chest and waist three belts of additional ammunition and packed a speed loader for the revolver.

He removed the inside pocket on a long black trench coat to conceal the rifle as he walked to school. The news reported he looked like a gunslinger.

Armed and ready, he entered his fifth-period algebra class and shot his intended target, a classmate who did not survive. It’s unknown why he targeted this boy.

The next two victims, two more classmates, were shot as they dropped to the floor to crawl under their desks, one survived with extensive injuries.

When the teacher cried out, “No, no,” he shot her as well, she also did not survive.

That Which Does Not Kill Us Makes Us Stronger – Friedrich Nietzsche

Upon hearing the gunshots, a P.E. Teacher ran into the classroom. He dove toward the injured teacher. The shooter told the P.E. Teacher to stand up, or he would shoot another student. He did and then talked the shooter into allowing a few students to assist the injured teacher out of the classroom along with a diabetic student.

The student who survived went on to become involved in Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE).

Nowhere To Run

Police tried to hostage negotiate with the shooter which resulted in escalating his agitation.

Deciding he needed coverage in case there were snipers he told the P.E. Teacher to stand near him and put the end of the rifle in his mouth. When the heroic teacher appeared to comply, the shooter wasn’t expecting the teacher to grab the gun and pin him against the wall. He then told the students to run.

The police stormed the classroom and handcuffed the shooter.

Juvenile Or Adult?

The shooter’s case was sent to adult court, where he pleaded insanity.

At the trial, the defense team had an expert testify the shooter suffered from depression and bipolar disorder. The prosecution also had an expert testify he suffered from dysthymic disorder, hyperactivity, and clinical depression. He was taking Ritalin at the time of the shooting.

The 14-year-old troubled boy was found guilty on two counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder, one count of first-degree attempted murder, and 16 counts of aggravated kidnapping.

Without Parole: With Parole

He was sentenced to serve two life sentences plus an additional 205 years without the possibility of parole.

However, in 2012, a U.S. Supreme Court ruled people younger than 16 could not receive life sentences without parole. Twenty-one years after the shooting, a judge resentenced him to 189 years.

Worth mentioning: Juvenile court makes a decision to keep a case or move a case to adult court based on the best interest of the juvenile or the public, and taking into account eight standards set out in Kent v. the United States also known as the ‘Kent Factors.’

(1) The seriousness of the charged offense and whether protection of the community requires prosecution in adult court.

(2) Whether the offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, premeditated or willful manner.

(3) Whether the offense was against persons or property.

(4) The prosecutive merit of the case.

(5) Whether the defendant had an adult accomplice.

(6) The defendant’s sophistication and maturity.

(7) The defendant’s prior record.

(8) The prospects for adequate protection of the public and rehabilitation of the juvenile in the juvenile system.

My heart goes out to all families who have suffered because of school violence. And my sincere condolences go to those who have lost a loved one.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel NovellaFind out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna  is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

Attack In The High School Girls’ Restroom

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #118Social media, electronic devices, and constant contact have become a necessity to many. To those who aren’t addicted or dependent on social media and their electronic devices, the allure is baffling.

In the recent news, a 17-year-old girl was on trial and found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for encouraging her boyfriend to commit suicide—all through texting.

The amazing, lightning-speed internet can be a blessing and a curse. Parents should regularly monitor what their children are doing and saying on the internet.

BLOG POST #118: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving four high school girls.

Everyone Watched—Nobody Helped

Three teenage girls left the high school cafeteria in search of another who presumably had posted something on social media that angered the girls on the hunt.

The three girls found who they were looking for in a school restroom. One of the angry teens posted a photo on social media and wrote “bouta fight her,” followed by several emojis indicating the person was laughing so hard she was crying.

The victim was punched numerous times by one assailant and kicked by another. The third attempted to pull the primary aggressor away from the victim.

Electronic Evidence

Dozens of girls watched the fight, and at least two recorded parts of it with their cell phones.

It seems cruel for anyone to have recorded the fight. Turned out to be a good thing, the recordings were used as evidence in the case. Plausible deniability goes out the window when there’s a video of the crime.

However, it is disheartening that nobody tried to stop the fight or help the victim.

When A Fight Turned Deadly

Unbeknownst to the three aggressors, the victim had a pre-existing heart condition. Her heart couldn’t handle the level of stress associated with her attack, and she did not survive.

The Medical Examiner determined that she died from a cardiac incident that she was vulnerable to because of a pre-existing heart condition, but the cardiac incident would not have occurred if she had not been assaulted.

Consequence Of The Unlawful Act

The primary aggressor was charged with Criminally Negligent Homicide and Conspiracy 3rd Degree in the death of the classmate. The two other girls were charged with Conspiracy 3rd Degree. All cases remained in juvenile court.

For there to be Criminally Negligent Homicide, the death must be the natural and probable consequence of the unlawful act and not the result of intervening causes.

The defense argued a reasonable person of the Respondent’s age and experience would not expect injury much less death to result from a fight. The judge disagreed and found her guilty on both counts.

The judge found one of the other two girls guilty of Conspiracy 3rd Degree.

The judge said, “While it may be true that [the victim], due to her condition would have died from a multitude of stressors, until such an event occurred, if at all, she had a right to live one more day, one more week, one more month or year, until her time, without a contributing cause of another.”

The judge also said this was not a fight between two teenagers squaring off to settle some mutual grievance, but rather, an act of violence initiated and carried out by the Respondent over a perceived slight on social media.

The judge sentenced the primary aggressor to six months in a secure residential program for female youths. She was banned from social media, community supervision until she’s 19, and ordered to perform 500 hours of community service with an emphasis on serving young people who have been abused or bullied.

The girl who kicked the victim was sentenced to 18 months of community supervision and 300 hours of community service.

My heart goes out to all families who have suffered because of a school crime. And my sincere condolences go to those who have lost a loved one.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel NovellaFind out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna  is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon