12-Year-Old Claims Innocence in the Shocking Murder of His 8-Year-Old Sister

Leila FowlerThe murder of 8-year-old California girl Leila Fowler was national news almost immediately. The details were horrific: a young girl and her 12-year-old brother left alone in their house, an intruder with "long hair" who broke in and stabbed her to death. It was all too much to bear. And then it got worse.

Two weeks ago Fowler's own brother, just 12, was arrested and charged with the crime. Police say he made up the story about the intruder, a story that sparked a massive manhunt and ripple of fear throughout the country. Now the boy has pleaded not guilty to the crime and we are all left to wonder what happens when a child is accused of a brutal, unimaginable crime.

The boy named Isaiah has only ever been in minor trouble. He was suspended from school for bringing a Swiss army knife. Could it be connected? Anything could be true now. All I know is my heart aches for this family.

The father and his fiancee had created a blended family of seven kids. Though money was said to be tight, it also sounds like the kids were happy and well-cared for, so what could have gone wrong?

As a mom, the idea of one child hurting the other one is always disturbing. Obviously, with siblings, it happens. My children push one another down, scratch each other, occasionally hit, and sometimes worse. But in general, I feel like the love outweighs all those moments. But what if it didn't?

What if a momentary squabble turned violent? What if it turned deadly?

It's not impossible. Children often don't realize that the things they do have lasting -- even forever -- consequences. Still, 12 seems a bit old for that magical thinking.

Since he pleaded not guilty, let's hope that this is all a big misunderstanding and that the one tragedy this family has experienced doesn't become compounded by losing two of their children. On the other hand, if he is guilty, the reality is he will be done with his time at 23.

Is 11 years enough time to serve for the murder of a perfectly innocent 8-year-old child? Does a 12-year-old lack the reasoning skills to understand murder? These are the questions that will need to be answered, but one thing is clear: the parents here will never have "justice." Their family is destroyed forever and no matter what the outcome is, there is no happy ending.

Do you think 12 is old enough to understand murder?


Image via police



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nrouette nrouette

There must be more to this story than LE is releasing (there always is). In this Country, we are innocent until proven guilty. My prayers go out to this family. They have a long road ahead.

Crystal Reavis

This what is too young to know right from wrong crap is getting old. He is old enough to understand what he did, he knows death is final. If he did this to his sister he should pay for it. The police believe he did and I don't think they would accuse him for nothing. I don't think he should get the death penalty but he needs to be away for a long time and get evaluated. If  a child murders saying he or she is too young to understand is just a cop out and it shouldn't be allowed. I hope the truth in this case is found out and the bother gets the help he desperately needs.

nonmember avatar NoWay

I have a 12 year old son and he darn well knows that death is forever and there is no coming back. If this boy did murder his sister, he knew what he was doing and he needs to pay for his crime. My prayers go out to this family during this terrible time.

zombi... zombiemommy916

Of course he's old enough to comprehend murder...he brutally stabbed her over and over...I could possibly understand if he had pushed her down the stairs or something like that...but he KNEW he was killing her when he did what he did...

Jespren Jespren

I have met 12 year olds who were too immature to understand the finality of death, but the vast majority of humans, by that age, can comprehend 'forever', 'death', 'right and wrong', and, prehaps even more importantly, know that killing someone is against the law.

ninag... ninag1980

sounds like Michael Myers himself

insei... inseineangel

What happened to "innocent til proven guilty?" You all are very quick to judge.

Irela... Ireland69

I agree with you inseineangel we don't know what their situation was at home people can say what ever they want but they didn't live with them. Adults handle stuff that they should know better but they don't we don't know what this kid was going thru.  We don't know his bringing up you can't compare all kids the same as adults.  May his family find peace and get the help this kid needs.

EarlG... EarlGrayHot

Younger than 12 is old enough to understand it.  This kid must have psychological issues.

momof... momof35219

Yes at 12 they should know the difference between right and wrong.

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