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Sanity questions surround Oakland teenager at sentencing hearing

Sadly, there are many children who are victims of their own environment. These children are exposed to neglect and different forms of abuse, which can create problems for them throughout their life. While some have the ability to somehow put their traumatic past behind them, others struggle with it and cannot cope with life in general, developing psychological disorders. In fact, many juvenile crimes can be traced back to a child's early years and the life to which they were exposed. These victims engage in underage drinking or drug use and may even resort to violence.

At the recent sentencing hearing of an Oakland teen, it was clear that the sanity of the 16-year-old was in question. He had been examined by several psychologists and their findings were mixed. One said he was sane, one said that he had a multiple personality disorder and one said he was probably insane. The teen has a troubled past that contained rejection, isolation, and abandonment as a young child.

Arrested and charged for the murders of his adoptive parents, the teen originally entered a not guilty by reason of insanity plea. His attorney even tried to have him committed and declared insane. The teen told law enforcement that he killed his parents after arguing with his mother over a school suspension. Facing long-term consequences of life in prison for the murders, the teen eventually agreed to a plea deal of 25 years to life.

When juvenile crimes involve violence, it is important to remember that these people are sometimes victims of their past. If this teenager does have a mental illness, hopefully he can find the help he needs from the state.

Source: The Oakland Tribune, "Oakland teen who killed his parents at home near Lake Merritt sent to prison," Paul T. Rosynsky, Jan. 26, 2013

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