A teen confessed to killing his great grandmother with a samurai sword after becoming furious about being not allowed to use the computer.
And Superior Court Judge Mr. Robert James sentenced the 16-year-old to life in prison with the possibility of parole, according to the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office.
In the courtroom, Mr. Gevin Allen Prince hugged his sobbing grandmother, Ms. Laura Prince, who he had stabbed shortly before he killed her mother with the sword and a kitchen knife.
“It will be OK, we’ll get through this,” Ms. Laura Prince told him, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Gevin pleaded guilty but mentally ill for killing Ms. Mary Joan Gibbs, 77, on Aug. 15, 2011, the district attorney’s spokesman Mr. Andrew Agan said.
He also pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated assault for the attack on his grandmother and for threatening two teenagers who tried to help with the sword, Mr. Agan said.
Mr. Prince, clad in a khaki-colored jumpsuit, suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, a mental condition that left him high functioning in some mental pursuits but often low functioning in social situations, the AJC reported.
Investigators said the teen had a history of attacks on family members but the grandmother and great grand-mother had covered for him when police suspected he had once used a sword to stab the great-grandmother in the foot.
The teen’s uncle blamed the boy’s deadly actions on a failure in the system, saying Gevin did not get the help he clearly needed. But he also blamed family members for the crime, which he said could have been prevented.
Mr. David Cook said the household held a collection of 30 swords that belonged to another nephew who lived in the home, according to the AJC.
Mr. Cook said he thought the weapons had been removed after the previous attack, and he blamed other family members for allowing the weapons to remain in the house in light of Gevin’s violent history.
“This was the most preventable murder in the history of the world,” Mr. Cook told the court and then addressed his nephew who will be eligible for parole in 30 years. “Gevin, you didn’t do this by yourself. You shouldn’t have been in that house. The swords and knives shouldn’t have been in that house.”
But despite his history, the women failed to act.
“They wanted that child there because they loved him,” Douglas County Sheriff’s Maj. Tommy Wheeler said after the attacks. “They never thought he would really do anything to hurt them.”
The incident happened about 5 p.m. that day inside the home at 3456 Spring Ridge Drive after the grandmother refused to allow the then 14-year-old to use the computer.
The 55-year-old grandmother, who had locked herself in a bedroom to escape the teen, received a severe cut to the arm, Maj. Wheeler said. The boy turned then turned on the great grandmother.
Investigators said the 77-year-old woman was sitting on the couch when the teen retrieved the 3-foot long sword and stabbed her.
“After she was struck, she got out of the house and he caught her just as she was exiting the yard,” Maj. Wheeler said. “She was going for help.”
Two neighborhood teenagers arrived to help Ms. Gibbs after she ran wounded into her yard.
They called 911 after the armed teen chased them off with the sword, District Attorney Dave McDade said, according to the AJC. Ms. Gibbs warned them to flee, he said.
“She began to tell them to run, ‘He’ll kill you too,’” Mr. McDade said.
After chasing the teens, the 14-year-old returned and administered the death blow to his great-grandmother, driving the sword down into her head, Mr. McDade said.
When sheriff deputies arrived at the home, the teen was standing on the porch, holding both a sword and a loaded pellet gun.
Mr. McDade said he stabbed his great-grandmother’s lifeless body to show the deputies that she was dead and they did not need to rescue her.
He walked to the edge of the yard and began shooting at the patrol cars, shooting out two of their windows, the major said.
When he dropped the sword, one officer threw a flash bang beside him and then a K-9 unit attacked the boy. Another officer approached and shot him with a Taser, causing him to drop.
“It’s a real sad situation,” Maj. Wheeler said. “There is no excuse for this to go on this long. I wish someone had said this kid doesn’t need to be with these people because he’s dangerous.
“Everyone has the potential to be dangerous, but this kid showed he could be dangerous.”
Ms. Laura Prince previously told the AJC she had raised her grandson and had tried to seek help for his mental problems, which is similar to autism. But the older he got, the more he “acted out” physically, eventually prompting 911 calls to county authorities.
Officers had at least three other involvements with the teen and his family.
In 2010, officers had to arrest the teen after he attacked his mother with a toilet seat, Maj. Wheeler said. The boy’s mother, who had given up custody of him when he was about 3 or 4 years old, told him his father had died.
“That’s why he beat his mother. She told him about it, he tore the seat off a toilet and beat her with it,” Maj. Wheeler said. “He’s a disturbed individual.”
Officers also got involved when he was taken to a medical facility to be evaluated. He was later released back to his grandmother, Maj. Wheeler said.
Then in June, the boy was charged with aggravated assault after he allegedly cut his grandmother in the leg with another sword, Maj. Wheeler said.
Officers still have that sword, which belonged to someone else who lived in the home.
“It’s very difficult to see a child do something like that. Somebody failed this kid,” Maj. Wheeler has said. “I think the system failed that child, the mother, the grandmother and the great grandmother.”
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