An 11-year-old boy has been charged in the death of his baby brother, after the boy reportedly confessed to dropping the 6-month-old boy on his head because he was "jealous" of him. It's pretty unusual to charge a child this young with something as serious as felony child abuse, but authorities say they feel confident the charges are justified. But what is outraging some people in the family is that the baby's mother was also charged -- even though she was not even home when the tragic incident happened.
Wendy Latwann Johnson, 33, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and child abuse causing serious bodily injury, even though she wasn't around when her elder son allegedly dropped her baby boy. But authorities say that she left them alone -- even though it was only briefly -- and that she showed "poor judgment." Homicide police captain Cecil Brison of Charlotte, North Carolina told WBTV:
Ultimately there's a level of responsibility and accountability that also lies with the parent in this case. Understandably, the grandmother is upset with her daughter being charged and I understand that. However, it goes back to what I've said before -- we charge based on the total picture. We charge everyone that's responsible in all cases.
Experts say that Johnson is being charged due to a "culpably negligent act or omission" that led to murder. Sentences will differ according to state and circumstances, but it's likely that Johnson could spend at least 12 months in jail.
This is a tough one. Does the mom deserve to be charged? What about an 11-year-old child -- could he comprehend that dropping his baby brother could lead to death? Does he understand death?
An 11-year-old is clearly too young to be in charge of a 6-month-old, no matter how you look at it. At 11 years old, I was babysitting younger kids, but never infants. That was just reckless and ignorant.
As for the child, some young children are perfectly capable of evil acts -- others are just immature and acting out and perhaps have emotional or mental health issues.
The boy is now staying with his grandmother, who does not believe her daughter should have been charged.
You can't just let a baby be deliberately dropped on his head and die without issuing punishment. But I do hope these two get some help too and not just punishment. It may not be too late for the 11-year-old to change his ways.
Do you think they should have been charged?
Image via WBTV