Unarmed teens who kill


It gives me no pleasure to create this post,
but the unceasing description by the newspapers I read,
the Washington Post and the New York Times,
of Trayvon Martin as an “unarmed teen” or “unarmed 17-year-old”
(Combined with a recent Eugene Robinson column
where he says "our 17-year-old sons are boys, not men".
Does that mean that they cannot commit crimes, you idiot?),
as if those parameters somehow guarantee his innocence
in any conflicts which might involve him,
suggest a quite frankly sickening and revolting contempt
for the truth about crimes that such “unarmed teens”
both can and have committed.

Certainly I do not mean to suggest that all teens should be viewed as dangers,
but merely that
youth by itself is no guarantee of innocence.

Anyhow, here are several notable examples of murder and worse
committed by “unarmed teens” in recent years in the Washington D.C. area.

The case of William and Cynthia Bennett

Loudoun teen gets life sentence in Lansdowne murder
By Tom Jackman
Washington Post NoVa blog, 2011-08-24

UPDATE, 2:30 p.m.:
Loudoun County judge Wednesday afternoon sentenced 19-year-old Jaime Ayala to life plus 40 years in prison, the maximum sentence, for the 2009 murder of William Bennett and the savage beating of his wife Cynthia Bennett.

Loudoun Circuit Court Judge James H. Chamblin said he searched for words to describe the attack on the Bennetts.

“And the words that come to my mind are heinous, reprehensible, evil, inexcusable, unjustifiable, destestable, disgusting,” the judge said. “And they don’t come close to how the court feels about this offense.”

Ayala apologized to the Bennett family. “There is no justification in my actions,” he said. “”All of this is on me. I hate the fact that I was involved in something so horrible.”

ORIGINAL POST, 1:15 p.m.: In the still of a Leesburg courtroom, some of the ghastly details of what happened to William and Cynthia Bennett as they took a Sunday morning walk in Lansdowne emerged for the first time Wednesday morning.

William Bennett was murdered, and the doctor who first saw Cynthia Bennett in the emergency room said: “In 30 years, I don't think I've ever seen such damage.”

Also for the first time, Cynthia Bennett spoke publicly about how her life was changed by the brutal attack in March 2009. Fortunately, she remembers none of it. Her first memory is being moved to another hospital for rehabilitation about a month later. But somehow, she said, she knew that her husband had been killed.

And the Bennetts' adult daughters also spoke for the first time about the horror of seeing their mother clinging to life in an intensive care unit, and learning that their father was dead.

William Bennett had served as a soldier in Special Forces and a contractor in the CIA, and emerged from retirement to join the war on terror after the Sept. 11 attacks.

With Jaime Ayala, the 19-year-old who will be sentenced later today, watching impassively from the defense table, daughter Samantha Bennett said through tears that her father had been “serving his country. Which is frustrating, he goes for a walk down the road and the people he'd sworn to protect take his life for no f------ reason. Sorry. I wish there were more people like him.”

The attack on the Bennetts was a random, senseless assault which rocked Loudoun County for weeks, until Ayala, then 17, and two of his pals — Darwin Bowman, then 18, and Anthony Roberts, then 19 — were arrested.

The Bennetts had been out for a pre-dawn walk on Riverside Parkway when, according to Ayala, Bowman and Roberts decided to jump out of the van Ayala was driving and rob the couple.

After savagely beating them both and returning to the van, Ayala told a Loudoun sheriff's investigator, Bowman and Roberts told Ayala to return to the scene so they could retrieve evidence and burn it. The trio then went to a Sterling industrial park and burned their own clothes and other items.

Sheriff's deputies first found William Bennett lying face down on one side of the Parkway. But in testimony today, it was revealed that Cynthia Bennett was not found for about another 45 minutes, when she rose up briefly as deputies searched for evidence.

Both Bennetts had been smashed in the face with a blunt metal object, according to Howard Reines, the emergency room doctor at Inova Fairfax Hospital who was the first to see Cynthia Bennett. William Bennett's skull had been fractured in the back from ear to ear.

In addition to her severe facial injuries, Cynthia Bennett had been brutally assaulted in her groin area and was bleeding profusely, Reines said. Before long, she had lost all of the blood in her body, Reines said.Bennett's body temperature was 83 degrees, which Reines said he had only seen one other person survive. A team of ten doctors worked on her. Somehow, she survived.

In my 25 years of covering crime, it was easily some of the most horrific testimony I have ever heard.

Cynthia Bennett walked slowly to the witness stand with the use of a cane. She said her first memory was being transferred to Inova Mount Vernon Hospital weeks after the attack, and “I remember not actually seeing the incident, but I knew he was gone.”

Ayala entered an Alford plea and was found guilty of second-degree murder and aggravated malicious wounding. He is already in prison for an unrelated gang assault (he was a member of the 18th Street gang). He is facing a sentence of 20 years to life from Loudoun Circuit County Judge James Chamblin.

Cynthia Bennett was most bitter about having her independence robbed by the attack, taking away her ability to run and go where she wanted. Her plans with her husband to retire and build a house out west were trashed. “He really loved his family, he loved his girls, he loved me,” she said. Cynthia Bennett has lasting intestinal injuries, and her hopes of running again are faint.

Bennett's daughter noted that they will have to relive this horror again, in the prosecutions of Bowman and Roberts. “This has been a nightmare, and it's a never ending nightmare,” Samantha Bennett said. “And we know we're going to have to do this again, to reopen all these wounds really sucks.”

The murder and rape of Hannah Wheeling

Md. teen gets 85 years in beating death of Cheltenham Youth Facility teacher
By Matt Zapotosky
Washington Post, 2012-01-13

A teenager who beat and strangled a teacher to death at a state-run juvenile detention center in Prince George’s County was sentenced to 85 years in prison Friday as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Brian Wonsom, now 15, pleaded guilty during the hearing to first-degree murder and attempted first-degree rape in the February 2010 attack at the Cheltenham Youth Facility and to attempted first-degree murder in a separate, 2009 case. Although Wonsom appeared to be writing something at one point during the proceedings, he declined Prince George’s County Circuit Judge Toni E. Clarke’s offer to let him comment with a simple no.

For such a brutal case involving such a young defendant, the conclusion was somewhat subdued. None of Wonsom’s relatives went to court, neither did any relatives of the victim, Hannah Wheeling, 65. Wonsom, who has grown a light goatee and mustache, showed almost no emotion.

Wonsom was 13 and in the Cheltenham Youth Facility on burglary charges when he became a suspect in Wheeling’s killing. While taking a test with Wheeling on Feb. 17, Wonsom apparently beat and strangled the youth facility teacher, then sexually assaulted her, prosecutors said Friday. Another staff member found her body the next day, prosecutors said.

Wonsom’s bloody sweat shirt was found in a stairwell at the facility, near Wheeling’s body, prosecutors said. Investigators eventually determined that semen found on Wheeling belonged to the boy, and they determined Wheeling was sexually assaulted after she had been killed, prosecutors said.

Wonsom was held after the attack, and a judge eventually ruled that he should be tried as an adult. He was indicted in March.

After handing down the 85-year sentence agreed upon by prosecutors and Wonsom’s attorney, Clarke told Wonsom he was “not fit to live in society.” He will spend at least 42.5 years behind bars as part of his plea agreement, as he will be eligible for parole after 50 percent of his sentence is served, according to Clarke and Allen Wolf, Wonsom’s attorney.

In addition to admitting to the Cheltenham killing, Wonsom pleaded guilty to a separate, 2009 incident in which he was accused of stabbing a neighbor in Laurel. That case, prosecutors said, emerged after Wonsom was a suspect in the Cheltenham murder and investigators were able to compare his fingerprints to those from the 2009 incident.

After the hearing, prosecutors said they were satisfied that Wonsom would be taken off the streets, even if not for his entire life. They noted that psychiatric experts had said previously the teenager had “sociopathic” tendencies that would require decades of intensive treatment if he had any chance for recovery.

The rape and murder of Colleen Ritzer by Philip Chism

From the San Francisco Chronicle story:

SALEM, Mass. (AP) —

The body of a popular Massachusetts teacher who police say
was killed by one of her students was found in the woods,
naked from the waist down and with her throat slit
and a note that read, "I hate you all,"
according to court documents released Friday.


Philip Chism, a 14-year-old soccer player who moved from Clarksville, Tenn., at the beginning of the school year, is charged with murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery in the Oct. 22 death of 24-year-old Danvers High School math teacher Colleen Ritzer. His attorney, Denise Regan, said Friday she had no comment.


According to the documents, surveillance video showed Chism putting on gloves and wearing a hood as he followed Ritzer into a bathroom. The documents say he brought a box cutter, mask, gloves and multiple changes of clothing to school that day.

Ritzer was reported missing when she never returned home. Her body was found on the ground in woods near the school, partly covered in leaves, and police said it appeared to be sexually positioned. Authorities say she had been sexually assaulted with a stick. A recycling barrel was nearby.

A timeline in the documents that's based on surveillance video indicates a student may have seen part of the crime. As Chism and Ritzer are apparently in the bathroom together, a female student walks in, then quickly walks out. The student later said a person with dark skin appeared to be changing clothes. Chism is biracial; Ritzer was white.

One minute later, Chism walks out of the bathroom wearing a hood over his head. Nine minutes after that, he pulls a recycling barrel into the bathroom, then through the school and outside.

Chism, who had been spotted at a movie theater after the killing, was found walking along a highway in a neighboring town around 12:30 a.m. A police officer looked in his backpack and found a bloodstained box cutter, according to the documents.

Asked where it came from, Chism replied, "The girl."

He also had Ritzer's credit cards and driver's license. He said he found them at a supermarket, then said he got them out of Ritzer's car.

[The Boston Globe reports:]

The affidavit by LaBarge also provides a detailed timeline of the movements of Ritzer and Chism, drawn from surveillance cameras in the school building. Ritzer talked with a fellow teacher around 2:30 p.m. She left classroom A209 and then headed to a second-floor bathroom, followed a few moments later by Chism, who entered the bathroom wearing a mask, the cameras indicated.

At 3:06 p.m., a freshman student whose name was redacted from the trooper’s affidavit walked into the bathroom, but quickly left. The student later told police she saw someone’s “butt’’ and assumed that somebody there was changing clothes, prompting the student to leave.

Chism emerges at 3:07 p.m., having spent about 12 minutes inside the bathroom.

Ritzer is never seen again on the surveillance videos.

Over the next several minutes, the cameras showed Chism, who had changed his clothes, returinng to the bathroom with a plastic recycling bin, which he then allegedly pushed through the school and out into the adjacent wooded area where it was found about 20 yards away from Ritzer’s body the next day, Oct 23.

The 16-year-old gang leader Jose Zaldivar-Medina

Daytime mall slashing occurred at behest of 16-year-old gang leader, prosecutors say
by Dan Morse
Washington Post, 2017-07-01

[The incident described in this article was not a homicide.
However, it does involve someone just 16,
and as the story indicates
he has been charged with involvement in the homicide of Christian Alexander Sosa Rivas in Virginia.]

Over the past year, detectives in the Washington region have identified Jose Zaldivar-Medina as a leader among local members of the MS-13 gang.

This week, Zaldivar-Medina, now 17, was convicted by a jury as an adult for orchestrating an assault he undertook at 16. He had spotted two young men at Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg and, thinking they were rival gang members, called subordinates to join him and ordered one of his gang allies — who was 20 — to go after the pair with a knife.


The victim suffered relatively minor injuries.

Such was not the case, Montgomery prosecutors have alleged in court papers,
in a case they say Zaldivar-Medina planned last year
and for which he has been charged in Virginia:
The killing of Christian Alexander Sosa ­Rivas, 21,
whose body was found in a river in Prince William County on Jan. 12.


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