*It was such a disturbing incident that the police officers on the scene will undergo counseling. They arrived at the home of a Cleveland girl and her mother, after the 11-year-old girl had beat a 2-month-old infant to death, The infant was staying overnight with the girl and her mother to give the baby’s mom a break.
Wickliffe police Chief Randy Ice said at a news conference Monday that the 11-year-old, her mother and the baby girl, Zuri Whitehead of Cleveland, were on a couch downstairs when the mother fell asleep at about 3 a.m. Friday. The mother was awakened less than an hour later by her daughter, who was holding the badly injured infant. Ice said the 11-year-old had taken the infant upstairs. When she returned downstairs, the infant was bleeding and her head was badly swollen.
The mother immediately called 911, (Scroll down to listen), according to Ice. Zuri was flown to a children’s trauma center in Cleveland, where she was pronounced dead.
The mother of the 11-year-old had known Zuri’s mother, Trina Whitehead, for five or six years, Ice said. Whitehead needed a break because she also has three other children, so she asked the girl’s mother to keep Zuri overnight.
The Associated Press is not naming the 11-year-old or her mother because of the girl’s age.
Neither Ice nor a Lake County juvenile court official could recall such a young murder suspect. Court administrator Chris Simon said 13 is the youngest age that children are typically detained at the county’s juvenile detention center, where the girl is being held. Juvenile Judge Karen Lawson entered a “not guilty” plea for the girl at a detention hearing Monday and ordered that she undergo a competency hearing.
FBI crime statistics show there were 20 children age 12 and under in the U.S. who were accused of murder during 2012, the most recent year for which statistics were available.
The girl must be at least 14 years old in Ohio to be turned over to adult court – so she can’t be tried as an adult, but she can be sentenced to a state Department of Youth Services facility until age 21.
Apparently, the school the 11-year-old attends had called police on the girl on other occasions – of a non-violent nature, Ice said. The girl and her mother have been questioned.
The girl, who is said to have repeatedly struck the infant’s head and upper body, did not show any remorse, according to Ice. “I’m not sure she appreciated the gravity of what she did,” he added.
The girl’s public defender declined to comment on Monday.
Ice is considering counseling for the officers who responded to the scene.
“We’re having a hard time getting (our) heads around this,” he said. “You don’t see stuff like this.”
Hear the disturbing 911 call here at Cleveland.com