Lionel Tate: Murderer or Just a Twelve Year Old Boy
Lionel Tate, a twelve-year-old boy who was charged as an adult, became the youngest American citizen sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole (Blanco). Tate was left alone with a six-year old girl who is mother was babysitting, while his mother took a nap upstairs (Blanco). The 166 pound Tate, explained how he began demonstrating wrestling moves on the 46 pound young girl, Tiffany Eunick (Blanco). The wrestling moves he performed resembled the moves from his favorite WWF wrestler, The Rock (McKinney). By pretending to be in a WWF wrestling match with the six-year old girl, the very large Tate caused many serious injuries, ultimately leading to the death of the 46-pound child (McKinney). Tate’s underdeveloped brain at the age of 12 may have lead to his over-aggressive actions with the young girl and fatally injuring her (Spinks). At the time of the trial, Tate did not receive a mental evaluation and the prosecution, as well as, the defense did a poor job of recognizing the 12 year old brain is highly undeveloped, which may have been a crucial factor in the decision of the jury.
Tate was a twelve-year old boy at the time of Tiffany Eunick’s death (McKinney). Most male, adolescents Tate’s age idolize the professional stage wrestlers and want to be just like them. Being just like their professional wrestling idols leads to practicing their moves on others, using similar aggression the professional uses, but without knowing the true dangers that come with the actions. Outweighing Eunick by 120 pounds, the stage wrestling moves he was performing were causing far more damage to the girl than Tate realized.
All a twelve-year old boy wants to do is play. Tate’s way of playing was pretending to be his idol, The Rock, and resembling his actions the best he could. The result would have been far different if Tate was wrestling with another boy his age, but he was lonely and thought he could...