Children Who Murder: A Review

  • David M. Shumaker
  • Ronald J. Prinz
Article

Abstract

Despite considerable research on juvenile homicide, pre-adolescent homicide offenders have received less attention. This paper reviews the existing literature on preteen murderers in order to characterize the current state of research knowledge about this population, and draws on some of the work on adolescent homicide as well. The analysis of this literature considers historical context, methodological issues, previous attempts to classify youthful homicide offenders, and predictors of preteen homicidal behavior. While there is a high degree of heterogeneity within this population, several developmental similarities emerged across cases that were associated with the perpetration of homicide by preteens. A high percentage of preteen homicide offenders come from homes characterized by physical abuse, domestic violence, poor or absent parenting, and overall instability. Gun availability may have been a facilitating factor. Support for different etiologies of preteen versus adolescent homicide is weak. Recommendations for future research directions are offered.

juvenile murder youth crime violence delinquency 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Shumaker
    • 1
  • Ronald J. Prinz
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South CarolinaColumbia

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