The story I am writing about is 13 year old, Cristian Fernandez who is currently facing life imprisonment for murdering his 2 year old brother.
Now normally when I commence writing a blog post I have in my head an already formed opinion based on the content I am writing about, but in the case of this story, things are a little less clear cut than usual and I am very interested in the feedback it will garner in the comments below as I myself cannot work out where I sit on this issue. You see, the kid only being 13 is the first of a number of questions that can be raised from this story when we look into the details.
To clarify, Cristian is being charged with first degree murder which means that he is believed to have pre-planned and willfully committed the act, excluding the possibility of an accident. His younger brother was found to have extensive skull damage, a bleeding brain and bruising to the left eye as a result of a brutal bashing delivered by cristian, who admitted to the offence while being questioned as a witness. In light of these current charges he has also been charged with sexually assaulting his 5 year half brother.
At this point it would be fair to ask where the ambiguity in this case comes in, this kid is obviously evil and life isn’t a long enough sentence. But this is where an important question needs to be asked. Is Cristian as an individual just born evil and therefore solely responsible for his actions? It would be fair to answer yes to this question because he was more than aware of his actions, he knew what murder was and he willfully committed the act and to a large extent I am holding onto this reasoning. But I am torn because as you will now read, Cristian probably wasn’t born evil and violent, but was the result of some of the most messed up life circumstances I have ever encountered.
You see, Cristian himself was born to a 12 year old mother, to which the conception itself resulted in a 10 year sexual assault sentence for the 25 year old father. When he was 2 years old he was found by authorities walking naked and dirty through the streets at 4 a.m while his grandmother, who was looking after him was at a local motel doing drugs. At this point both mother and child were moved into foster care, where among other things, Cristian was sexually assaulted by an older cousin at the age of 8. A number of years later, Cristian’s mother married and they moved to Miami, where Cristian was beaten by his stepfather, one time so bad his eye maintained retinal damage. When the incidence was reported and the authorities went to investigate they found the stepfather dead as a result of suicide. It was after all this, when Cristian was 12 that he murdered his younger brother, while his mother had left the 2 boys home alone. On returning to the house, Cristian’s mother found the 2 year old unconscious and then waited another 8 and a half hours before calling for help. In the meantime texting friends and googling terms such as ‘unconscious’. Doctors say the child may have survived had the mother acted appropriately and as a result she has been charged herself with aggravated manslaughter and could be facing 30 years.
If anything this story just makes me sad and angry at people, society and pretty much everything, because while Cristian willfully murdered his brother, I don’t think anyone can say that the above has no relevance. Even in discussing the incident to psychologist’s, Cristian was detached to the incident mentioning flashbacks to his violent stepfather as the trigger for his anger. His family let him down, society let him down, the authorities let him down and the whole government system let him down, squashing his potential in life and breeding anger violence and hatred. It is for this reason that I am so torn on the issue because while I understand that there is never a reason or excuse for killing an innocent person, this poor kid comes pretty close to having one.
So what do you think? There is a lot that can be commented on so I’m not going to limit you with a single question. I still haven't really decided. I think the kid needs to be locked up to some degree because he is a risk to himself and others, but my heart also goes out to him and hope that he might somehow receive rehabilitation and a second chance at life with the hope that he just hasn’t been messed up beyond repair.