An 11-year-old boy in Tennessee who allegedly murdered an 8-year-old girl after she and her sister refused to allow him to see their puppies has been found guilty of first-degree murder.
CNN reports that the judge presiding over the case, Judge Dennis Roach, sentenced the boy to spend the next eight years of his life detained in a juvenile prison in the state of Tennessee.
Court documents indicate that young boy–who allegedly shot 8-year-old MaKayla Dyer in the chest with a shotgun, killing her–will remain incarcerated until the day of his 19th birthday.
Dianna Houchins, the boy’s great-grandmother, told CNN that the family plans to appeal the court’s ruling. Houchins has previously expressed her doubts regarding her great-grandson’s involvement in the murder, as she previously conveyed her belief that the autopsy would absolve him of murder.
According to court documents, the murder took place in White Pine, Tennessee on October 3, 2015. On the evening of the murder, the boy was talking to the two sisters, one of whom is now deceased, through a mobile home window. He asked if he could play with their puppies, but according to court documents, she refused his request. After which point, he went to a closet and produced a 12-gauge shotgun and a BB gun. With the shotgun in hand, he pointed it down at MaKayla and allegedly pulled the trigger.
MaKayla was struck in the chest, just above the heart.
Her mother, Latasha Dyer, reportedly wept while she told WATE in an interview that the boy “was bullying” her daughter when they first moved to White Pine and it wasn’t until she went to the principal that he stopped, “for a while.” Then all of a sudden, “he shot her.”
When we first moved to White Pine, the little boy was bullying MaKayla and I had to go to the principal about him, and he quit, for a while. Then all of the sudden yesterday, he shot her.
Judge Roach wrote in his order, which WATE posted online, that a child responsible for the first-degree murder of another person “cannot be willy-nilly turned loose into society.”
A child who commits first-degree murder cannot be willy-nilly turned loose into society. To hold otherwise would, in the opinion of the Court, fly in the face of reasonable prudence.
The judge noted that the boy had received firearms safety training and had also hunted with both his father as well as his grandfather.