On October 21, a 13-year-old Oklahoma boy was playing outside with his two friends when he shot off a crossbow. According to CBS News, the 10-year-old he was with, Austin Almanza, was fatally hit by the arrow before it pierced the second boy, Austin’s 8-year-old brother, in the arm.
The incident occurred just outside of Oklahoma City in a small town called Chandler and is now gaining national attention after authorities charged the 13-year-old as an adult with first-degree murder. It should be noted the boy’s identity is still being kept anonymous due to the possibility his charge could be lessened to juvenile.
CBS News reported the young teen says it was an accident. However the surviving 8-year-old boy reportedly testified to a different story. According to CBS News, the victim’s brother claimed they were all working on building a treehouse when he and his brother decided they were going to leave.
That’s when the 13-year-old allegedly grew angry and fired off a crossbow.
An uncle of the victim and survivor, as reported by CBS News, told police he was within earshot of the killing and he heard the 13-year-old boy say:
“I think I murdered him accidentally.”
He said the boy then “ran home crying.”
Lincoln County Sheriff Charles Dougherty has also said Austin’s death wasn’t “because of an accident,” according to CBS News.
The teen was released from jail on a $130,000 bail and is currently living with a GPS monitor, an 8 p.m. curfew, and no contact with the victim’s family.
Last week, an Oklahoma judge ordered the 13-year-old to undergo a psychological evaluation to establish how exactly his case should proceed. But many believe no child should be charged as an adult no matter what the crime is, the Economist reported.
What age determines criminal culpability? What age is too young to fully understand murder? Although it’s still unclear what the outcome of his psychological evaluation will be, the question remains whether children can be charged as adults.
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