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'Incorrigible' 10-year-old arrested at mom's insistence

The boy is charged with armed burglary. His mother says he needs help.

By Mallory Simon
Published July 6, 2006

NEW PORT RICHEY - Last week, her son turned 10 years old. On Tuesday morning, she watched as police took him away in a patrol car, charged with a felony.

A neighbor saw the boy break into her car and make off with a pocket knife, according to a police report.

Police were originally uneasy about arresting the boy, who will be a fourth-grader this year. But New Port Richey Lt. Jeffrey Harrington said the mother insisted. They charged him with armed burglary.

"The mother was at her wits' end," Harrington said Wednesday. "She thought he was just incorrigible. She asked us for help to get him into the system."

The single mother told the St. Petersburg Times that her son was so out of control that someone had to do something. (The Times is withholding her identity to avoid identifying the boy.)

"This kid has me in such fear for my own safety and my other son's (an 11-year-old) safety," she said. "I'm not giving up on him. I just think this is what he needs."

She said her son began beating her at age 6 with a Nerf baseball bat that had a metal rod inside. She said he knows that she has a bad leg from a car accident, and he aims directly for it. Sometimes, she said, he threatens to kill her or slit her throat during the night, and she is so afraid that she has a friend stay over so that she can get some sleep.

The mother listed several incidents involving her son since she moved to a new home June 1. The police had been to her home at least eight or nine times before the arrest.

Her son had punched walls in her last home, which angered the landlord so much that they had to move. She said he stole a bike from a little girl at the library and has also stolen jewelry, money and other items.

Recently, a police officer brought him home after he was found spray-painting the playground on Main Street, she said. But because of his age, nobody would press charges.

"Everyone's felt so bad because he's so young that nobody wants to press charges, but that doesn't help him," the mother said. "Apparently, he's trying to act like an adult, so he needs to be treated that way and learn he can't do these things."

When she saw her son in court Wednesday morning, she said, he was arrogant and refused to look at the judge, giggling throughout the proceedings.

"At one point, the judge had to yell at him to look up," she said. "And he said he didn't care if he was kept there for 21 days."

So that's exactly what the judge ordered. The 10-year-old will remain in the juvenile detention center near Land O'Lakes for just shy of a month. His mother said she hopes it will make a difference.

"I pray to God it will," she said "No matter how bad it gets, you just have to be a parent and give unconditional love."

[Last modified July 5, 2006, 22:56:41]

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