While serial killers are creepy enough just as they are, there is one thing more frightening — children who kill. They’re like something out of a horror movie; they’re simply unnatural in every way and it’s extremely jarring to even consider that a child could be capable of a thing like murder. Be that as it may, there have been several killer children throughout history, and these are the 10 worst.
As is the case for many, if not most, of the children on this list, Mary Bell suffered from an early age. She was born to a prostitute mother, and while her father’s identity was always a bit questionable, the guy that most evidence pointed towards was a habitual criminal himself. Her mother forced her to have sex with men when she was as young as four years old, and she also tried to kill Mary several times while making the deed look accidental. After all that, it’s not quite a mystery as to how Mary could grow up to strangle a 4-year-old boy to death on the day before her 11th birthday. She was believed to have killed the boy, Martin Brown, all on her own, but she and a friend would later vandalize a local nursery and make claims to the murder. The claims were considered a prank by local police, but it was only a few months later that Mary and her friend, Norma Bell (no relation), would strangle another boy to death — this time a 3-year-old. After killing the boy and stashing his body in the woods, Mary returned and carved an M into his stomach. She then cut off bits of his hair as though he were some sort of doll, and mutilated his genitals. Norma was acquitted in court, but Mary was deemed psychotic and placed in government care. She was released from custody 12 years later, and after many legal battles she won government-assured anonymity in the UK for life.
Jon Venables and Robert Thompson
James Bulger, a 2-year-old, went missing in 1993. He had been coaxed away from his mother and walked right out of a public area by two 10-year-old boys: Jon Venables and Robert Thompson. They took him on a 2.5 mile walk to a semi-secluded area in Liverpool, along some railroad tracks by an old cemetery. That’s where the two boys killed Bulger. They threw paint into his left eye, hit him with bricks, beat him with an iron bar, and shoved batteries into his mouth. They beat him so severely that a coroner could not determine which of the blows was actually the fatal one. Before fleeing the scene, the boys laid Bulger out across the train tracks and weighed him down so that he couldn’t move, hoping that a train would come and cut him in half. It was. The remains of the child were found two days later, and after much investigating and hullabaloo throughout the region, the two boys were identified and brought before the court. Amazingly, the two were sentenced to remain in custody until they turned 18, but were released in 2001. They were even given a witness-protection-style relocation and name-change. So much for collecting Star Wars posters and playing with Tanka trucks.
Elizabeth Olten was only nine years old in 2009 when she was brutally murdered by Alyssa Bustamante — who was only 15. Bustamante, who seemed to be the typically overly-dramatic, black mascara-wearing “I’m so goth” emo teen that we see too much of these days, was a lot sicker than people thought and she was capable of far more evil than anyone imagined. The girl had toyed with the notion of killing her two younger brothers, and had even posted images with captions extolling the pleasures in watching them suffer as she played dangerous pranks on them. Olten, the young girl who Bustamante brutally murdered, was walking home one day when she took a forest path nearby two unmarked graves that Bustamante had dug, likely for her two brothers. Bustamante killed the little girl by strangling her, beating her, and finally slitting her throat. Upon confessing to the murder, Bustamante said she did it because she “wanted to know what it felt like.”
George Junius Stinney Jr.
While there has always been a great deal of political and racial distrust surrounding the Stinney case, it’s widely accepted that despite the uproar over executing such a young boy, George Junius Stinney did in fact kill two young girls. It was 1944, and Stinney was a 14-year-old, 90 lb. black boy who followed two white girls, 11 and 8 years old, into a ravine. He apparently wanted to rape the 11-year-old, but couldn’t do so with the younger girl present. He decided to remove her, and that meant killing her. Both girls fought him, but he grabbed a large railroad spike and began bludgeoning them to death, repeatedly striking their heads with the heavy iron. He was charged with first-degree murder the very next day, but had to be removed from town under threat from local townsmen who wanted to lynch him. He was put to death in Columbia, South Carolina later that year.
In 1996, Barry Loukaitis dressed up in his best Wild West cowboy garb and sauntered into his Algebra class in Moses Lake, Washington. While his classmates may have thought him more than a bit dorky for his choice of attire that day, what they didn’t know was that hidden beneath the fabric of the duster he was wearing were two pistols, a rifle, and 78 rounds of ammunition. He opened fire right then and there, his first victim being 14-year-old Manuel Vela. Seconds later, another classmate was hit with a shot to the chest, followed by the teacher with a shot to the back. Next was a 13-year-old girl, shot in the arm. He began taking hostages, but made the tactical mistake of allowing people to collect the wounded. In that moment of weakness, an enraged teacher rushed the boy, taking him down and ending the spree. Later, a classmate would recall Loukaitis saying that it would be “fun” to go on a killing spree someday.
It should be noted, right off the bat, that naming your child Kipland Kinkel is like signing away any chance he may have at normalcy. In this case, the name alone may not have had much of a bearing on the outcome. Kip Kinkel was expelled from an Oregon school in 1998 at the tender age of 15 — for bringing a gun to class with him. Instead of recognizing the implications of such an action, the school simply sent him home. He came back, and this time he brought an assault rifle; he made his way to the cafeteria and opened fire. One student was killed immediately in the opening shots and one would die some time later, but eight others were injured with the spray of bullets. The ensuing stampede caused by a gunman opening fire in the middle of a school cafeteria also caused considerable injury. When police arrived, Kinkel was disarmed and taken into custody, but they had underestimated the level of crazy that this boy had reached. He had seemingly allowed himself to be disarmed up until that point, but had concealed a knife. Luckily for the police officers, he wasn’t nearly as good with a blade as he was with an automatic weapon. He acted suicidal and claimed he wanted to die, and when officers raided his home they found that both his parents were already dead — and that the boy had booby trapped the house with explosives. To make the scene even more grizzly, he had rigged his own mother’s corpse with a bomb. Students would later recall that Kinkel had been unofficially voted the student “most likely to start World War III.”
Cindy Collier and Shirley Wolf
While Cyndi Lauper was playing on everyone’s radio in 1983, Cindy Collier and Shirley Wolf began targeting condominiums as sites for their depraved pleasures. Those pleasures usually consisted of vandalism or car-theft, but one such occasion the girls proved just how sick they truly were. They knocked on a door and were greeted by an elderly woman, who seeing two young girls — 15 and 14 years-old, respectively — let them in without hesitation in the hopes that she’d have a nice conversation over tea. They did fulfill her wish to an extent, as they sat chatting with her like cats toying with a mouse, but then they turned violent and dropped all pretenses. Shirley grabbed the old woman by the neck and held her, while Cindy found a butcher’s knife in the kitchen and tossed it to her. Shirley then began to stab the woman, and continued stabbing her 28 times as she pleaded for her life. The girls fled the scene, only to be arrested shortly afterward. They happily confessed to the crime, noting that it was “a kick” and that they’d love to do it again.
Joshua Phillips was 14 years old in 1998 when his 8-year-old neighbor went missing. After seven days, his mother started to notice an unpleasant odor emanating from underneath his bed. What she found wasn’t anything she had ever expected to see in her life, because it was the missing girl, dead, bloody, leaking fluids, and beaten to a pulp. When she questioned her son, he said that he had accidentally hit the girl in the eye with a baseball; she had begun to scream and he panicked, hitting her with the bat. His story was more than a bit incomplete, since he failed to explain why he had to bludgeon the girl to death, or stab her 11 times, or hide her body under his bed afterward. A Florida jury didn’t believe him, either, and he was convicted of first-degree murder.
When it comes to crime at a young age, Willie Bosket was something of a natural wonder. By the time he had turned 15 in 1978, Bosket had committed over 2,000 crimes in New York — and his rap sheet included several instances of stabbing people. He never knew his father, but he knew the man was a convicted murderer, and he revered him for his “manly” crime. Laws at the time regarded minors as nearly inculpable of their crimes, and Bosket knew that even by stabbing or shooting people, as he had taken to doing in the subways once he turned 16, would still only get him time in jail until his 21st birthday. Ironically, it was that very reasoning that caused a reversal of the old ways of thinking, and the “Willie Bosket Law” was passed in New York. Under the new law, children as young as 13 could and would be charged and tried as adults for excessively violent behavior.
This one’s old-school. In the world of psychotic, murderous children, perhaps none have been as deranged as Jesse Pomeroy — and few are recorded any earlier in history. Pomeroy was 14 years old in 1874 when he was arrested for the cold-blooded and brutal murder of a 4-year-old boy. That wasn’t his first act of violence, though; Pomeroy had spent the last three years of his life tormenting other children. His first arrest was for the sexual torture and molestation of seven other boys when he himself was only 11. After that, he murdered an 10-year-old girl and then mutilated her body, just because she was unlucky enough to have entered his mother’s store while he was there. The 4-year-old boy he had killed, Horace Mullen, had been found in a swamp outside of town with his neck so badly slashed that he was nearly decapitated. Officials questioned Pomeroy about the death, since he was already known for being violent, and he responded with a simple “I suppose I did.” It wasn’t long afterward that they found the body of the girl beneath his mother’s store, as well. Citizens didn’t like the idea of hanging such a young boy, so he was sentenced to 40 years of solitary confinement.