16-year-old José Rabadán killed his parents and his mentally disabled sister with a katana because he believed that this way he could calm his life. Rachel and Iria, aged 17 and 16, killed a classmate because they wanted to know what it was like to kill and make themselves known.
Javier Rosado, 21, with a friend of 17, killed a random passerby. “The Nano”, 13, stoned a 10-year-old friend because he had insulted him. Antonio Molina, 14, threw his 6-year-old sister into a water pipe where she died of asphyxiation because he felt jealous of her. Enrique Cornejo and Antonio Aguilar, both 16, raped and stabbed an 11-year-old boy.
Murdered children: data and explanations of psychology
Although each case is unique and each author has different reasons for carrying them out, they all have some things in common:
the crimes were committed by minors and took place in Spain.
Of course, these are not the only cases of murders committed by minors that have occurred in the country, there are others, even if these have gone down in history for the violence exercised and the motivations. authors.
Why does a minor commit a crime of this magnitude?
It is appalling to think that from an early age minors can commit acts of violence, as manifested in the cases outlined above, and the question we are asked in the face of these facts is: how can a minor experience such acts of violence?
You may be interested in: “Psychopathic Children: 5 Cases of Underage Murderers”
Scientific evidence: from personality to emotional conflicts
Experts who study these violent phenomena allege several causes. Echeburúa reports two possible hypotheses in this regard, one of which defends extreme impulsiveness caused by brain damage that affects the regulatory mechanisms of behavior, and the other refers to biological or psychological vulnerability.
For his part, the professor of the University of Barcelona Antonio Andrés Pueyo hints at personality and opportunity factors. This author argues that in certain emotional situations, a series of violent acts are set in motion and can result in homicide without the desire to kill having previously intervened. Other theories claim that the predictors that explain violence in general also explain cases of murder or homicide.
Some of these factors would be: perinatal factors, very rigid or permissive educational and parenting styles, not having developed a good condition in early childhood, controlling one’s own school performance, living in conflict zones, having antisocial attitudes, have been victims of abuse or sexual abuse of children, alcohol and drug use and psychological problems or disorders, such as: antisocial personality disorder or psychopathy.
Substantive psychological disorders
In the latter, psychological problems are supported by other theoretical currents which claim that
psychological disorders are the factors that make the difference between those who kill and those who don’t despite exposure to the same risk factors (Farrington, 2012).
Other factors that have also been observed are children’s temperament, moral development, self-esteem and lack of empathy, although it should be remembered that adequate and correct education can minimize the harmful effects that the environment and genetic predisposition can have on the child and thus reduce the predisposition to commit acts of violence.
Fact: 54% of juvenile homicides suffer from a personality disorder
A study carried out in Spain among children and adolescents convicted of homicide reveals very revealing data on this subject:
54% of those who committed homicide suffered from a personality disorder or antisocial behavior, 4% had committed a murder under the effects of a psychotic epidemic and the remaining 42% were normal boys and girls living in apparently normalized families.
The conclusion of this phenomenon, as can be seen, is not clear and the literature that we find in this regard is varied and alludes to various factors that converge and trigger an act of extreme violence, such as homicide. We cannot therefore speak in isolation of the expediency of the crime, of psychological, genetic or environmental factors, but of their confluence. And always keep in mind, as Heide concluded that
juvenile killers tend to have a history of crime or antisocial behavior.
- Farrington, D., Loeber, R. and Berg, M. (2012). Killing young men: a future longitudinal examination from childhood. SAGE publications.
- Pérez Oliva, M. (2008). Why can you kill a child? The weekly country.
- Minors and murderers. List of crimes recorded over the past 18 years. (2010). The world. Retrieved from: http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2010/04/04/espana/1270373512.html
- Young murderers, the most horrific cases in Spain (2013). Teinteresa.es. Retrieved from: http://www.teinteresa.es/espana/Jovenes-asesinos-casos-estremecedores-Espana_0_958105162.html