August 21st, 2009
12:14 PM ET

12-year-old boy could face life in prison after alleged robbery attempt, killing


Steve Babcock holds a senior portrait of his daughter, Trisha Babcock, who was 24 when she was killed in Detroit on Aug. 1.

Steve Babcock holds a senior portrait of his daughter, Trisha Babcock, who was 24 when she was killed in Detroit on Aug. 1.

Gabriel Falcon

AC360° Writer

It is just after midnight on August 1 in Detroit. Trisha Babcock and a friend sit in a car on West Outer Drive. A figure approaches the vehicle. A gun appears. A shot is fired. Babcock is mortally wounded. She dies a short time later.

For homicide detectives, the circumstances are sadly familiar. Except for one detail: the murder suspect is 12-years-old.

He is just a child, but authorities in Michigan believe the boy was old enough to kill. And if convicted of the crime, he could face a possible lifetime inside an adult prison. “As you can imagine, it’s a very sensitive case because of the nature of it,” Deputy Chief John Roach of the Detroit Police Department told CNN.

The situation is both sensitive and highly controversial. The boy is currently being held at a juvenile center in Wayne County. Authorities say they are awaiting a preliminary examination before releasing his name.

The office of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced the suspect will be tried as a minor. However, under Michigan law, if he is found guilty, he can be designated as an adult for sentencing.

“The judge would have three options at the time of sentencing,” Maria Miller, the spokeswoman for Worthy said to CNN in a phone interview. “To sentence him as a juvenile, sentence him as an adult, or a blended sentence.” A blended sentence gives the judge discretion of sending a juvenile offender to prison when he or she reaches the age of 19.

Steve Babcock shows a photograph of his daughter Trisha, at right, and a friend. The 2003 Davison High School graduate had planned to attend Mott Community College in Flint this fall and become a nurse, he said.

Steve Babcock shows a photograph of his daughter Trisha, at right, and a friend. The 2003 Davison High School graduate had planned to attend Mott Community College in Flint this fall and become a nurse, he said.

The suspect is charged with felony murder, armed robbery, felony firearms, and a curfew violation, according to Roach, who also provided a detailed description of the shooting:

“The 12-year-old approached the vehicle and pointed his gun at Babcock. After a brief struggle, he fired one shot, striking her in the chest. She was taken to Sinai-Grace hospital where she died a short time later.”

Witnesses told police the boy was attempting to rob Babcock, who ironically was 24-years-old, twice his age.

Roach said forensic evidence linked the boy to the homicide, who, accompanied by his father, turned himself in on August 14.

He is young, but he may appear older than he looks.

“He is 6′2″, Maria Miller said, “he’s a big kid for his age, a big kid.”

Roach, who said the suspect turns 13-years-old next month, can not recall a similar case to this one ever in Wayne County. He called it an “aberration.”

However, he added “the reality is that we do have a lot of juvenile shooting suspects which is a very serious issue. It’s at the center of what our new chief is trying to address.”

The judge assigned to the case was unavailable for comment. Attempts to determine if a defense attorney has been retained or appointed have been unsuccessful.

The child’s next court appearance will be August 26.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (1,300 Responses)
  1. 86henry

    Financial experts have traditionally held that equities belong in a portfolio because, despite involving greater risk than cash or bonds, when held over the long term they offer higher return potential. However, that conventional wisdom has come under fire since the double whammy of the dot-com crash and the credit crunch. If you’re wondering whether it’s time to revisit the amount you’ve allocated to stocks, understanding both sides of the argument can help you make a more informed decision.

    August 24, 2009 at 6:28 am |
  2. Jeffrey K

    Poor little black child....yes, he was black. This is the "black culture"
    we are trying to protect. The culture where life has little meaning...

    August 24, 2009 at 1:21 am |
  3. Lauren

    Brenda- I'm not sure what state you are from but I live in Maryland where there are plenty of behavior modification facilities for children and adolescents...I know because I worked with these juvenile offenders for 5 years. I am in no position to judge so I am not too sure if this particular kid can be rehabilitated but the fact of the matter is, the vast majority of these juvenile offenders grow up to be adult offenders. I've witnessed this first hand. Unless these children have parents that will reinforce what these kids are taught once they are discharged from such facilities, there is no hope. Sad to say but true. I totally understand where you are coming from, I just can't agree.

    August 23, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  4. Jennifer

    "decisions made at age 12 should not be held over this child’s head forever. not in a civilized society. give him 20 years and give him a chance when he’s mid 30’s to live his life."

    Well in that case, John, I propose that this disgusting sub-human creature should live next to your family at that time. I'm sure his second chance will result in the loss of one of your loved ones (or maybe even you) soon after.

    There should be no second chances for murderers. Period. It's not fair for law abiding citizens to pay for or be at risk because of these pieces of trash. As far as the victim and her family go, they can thank the "civil" rights movement for this loss at the hands of a barbarian.

    August 23, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  5. M. Garrett

    What does the fact that he's 6'2" have to do with anything? Instead, we need to be focused on the issue at hand – should a 12 year old be tried as an adult? What does the brain research say?

    August 23, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  6. Rick Ashby

    Mr. Falcon mentioned a member of my family in another article that is now closed to comment.

    The aforementioned family member is a long time Missing Person and I have additional data that may interest Mr. Falcon.

    I am using this medium to contact him since I know of no other.

    This inquiry is very serious. Please pass it on to Mr. Falcon.


    Rick Ashby

    August 23, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  7. T

    Tragic story.
    I understand the anger towards this child and the need to protect society by separating him from it. But a 12 year old is not an adult. He or she may have physically matured, and engage in adult like behaviors, but the bottom line is that adults and children do not think (and therefore behave and respond to situations) alike. There is a good physiological explanation for this (aside from the issue of parenting). The brain has not yet fully developed and therefor is likely incapable of processing information (like long term consequences) in the same manner as an adult brain.

    August 22, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  8. Gregor Sands

    m anne........What a white woman was doing in a car at any time of day is beside the point; murder in the act of robbery is the point.......it was not the victim's fault that a chimp murdered a victim........you really should get together with Curious George for a Latte.

    August 22, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  9. Reader

    To the writer of this article: what does "he may appear older than he looks" mean? You mean he may look older than he looks? Nice writing.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  10. Mike in NYC

    Looks like the man-child is black. Now who didn't see that coming?

    Blacks mature physically faster than other groups. Combined with higher testosterone levels and the general dysfunction found in AA society, it's no surprise that violent criminal behavior among their young is so common.

    A realistic minor-adult age threshold may not be the same for all groups.

    August 22, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  11. Louis in Detroit

    How are you proven white?? What does that mean?

    I doesn't matter the color of his skin – but I know one thing, he's proven black.. lol.

    August 22, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  12. Scott

    The entire system is corrupt from the top on down AND until it is taken down, expect more of the same.. only much worse if we don't stand up and do something about it NOW.

    August 22, 2009 at 6:47 am |
  13. john b

    There has not been one post that says that this is happening in our society because most of us have turned our back on our creator and embraced evil to varying degrees Detroit started to die fifty years ago and our answer, the answer of American society as a whole was to watch it die and do nothing. I fled to California in 69 But you can not flee evil. America needs a spirtiual revival more than anything. I truly believe that our actions as an entire society have created the hell hole called Detroit out of a once vibrant city. In stead of the stupid comments about locking this lost child away for life, we should each look in our own hearts at our own choices we made when we turned our backs, all of us, white and black, and let this happen. Most of Detroit looks worse than Beiruit and is more dangerous. Each of us needs to pray for ourselves and our nation. remember the scripture, "Unless the Lord keeps the city, the watchman waits in vain" That is the epitath of Detroit, and it is becoming the epitath of America.
    Mourn and weep not only for these families but for our country, for what we have become. Our forefathers prayed to the lord for an new world and for a new start for society. They knew prayer moves the hand of God and that the holy spirit brings Gods life and delivers us from the consequences of our sins. Look hard at Detroit and what it has become , repent your part in it and pray to the lord for deliverance. JJB

    August 22, 2009 at 1:13 am |
  14. Streeter

    I wonder if everyone that feels this child should loose his life or spend life in prison would feel the same if he was proven white. I've read alot of racial comments and it's sad to know that race is still one of the most, if not the most, demolishing issues that we face. I just hope none of the bigots that commented here have any affiliation with the judge or jurors in this case. He should be punished and serve time, but at 12, I don't think his life should even be considered. God has a plan for everyone, even him. My sympathy goes out to the victim's family and friends.

    August 21, 2009 at 11:58 pm |
  15. Shannon

    What a poorly-written article. Shameful.

    August 21, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  16. Grace

    i dont care about his age! he killed a person he should go to
    jail for the rest of his life when hes 19

    August 21, 2009 at 11:17 pm |
  17. m anne

    i spent my college years in that city and can only comment that it is odd to see a white woman in a car in that neighborhood after midnight allowed someone unknown to approach their car unless they were buying drugs.

    the violence in detroit is well known to anyone living in the area or who reads the news. it is a problem that the city, the state and our country but what do we expect when it is so widely accepted as entertainment.

    i find the sarcastic comments about how people will start fundraisers for the child and how a 12 yr old should suffer/die disgusting and that mentality just as guilty in contributing to the demise of this child as the obvious neglect by the parents.

    August 21, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  18. Daryn

    He took a life and it can never be restored. Let's not kid ourselves, this murderer is now damaged goods and nothing in the world can fix that. Take the money that would be wasted on incarcerating him or counseling him and give it to the victim's family. As for the useless waste of skin, the 12 year old, kill it and toss it in the trash.

    August 21, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  19. MI Sam

    Can we re-establish capital punishment in Michigan?

    August 21, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  20. Matt

    He took a life now unfortunately if found guilty he must lose his

    August 21, 2009 at 9:31 pm |
  21. james

    Personally, I am not suprised. What will happen is that white guilt liberals will portray the killer as the "victim" and the killers' supporters will portray the victim as the "bad guy." They will turn it into a racial issue and try to get people to forget that an innocent woman was brutally murdered. Maybe Al and Jesse will host fundraisers for him.

    August 21, 2009 at 9:25 pm |
  22. Annie Kate

    If the child did do the crime (did he confess?) then the blended sentence sounds good – especially if he gets therapy and other help while he is in detention. It concerns me though that so many people are willing to judge and write off a 12 year old (or any other age) before a trial has been conducted and the person found guilty. We are supposed to be considered innocent until proven guilty despite the heinousness of the crime.

    August 21, 2009 at 8:56 pm |
  23. Bill

    Living in detroit is attempted suicide.

    August 21, 2009 at 8:33 pm |
  24. The Crypticum Keeper

    Okay, according to the black-and-white thinkers out there 12 years old is enough to fully comprehend the ramification of murder.

    Is 11?






    Just out of curiosity, where do you have-all-the-answers folks think the line between child and adult should be?

    Oh, and before you answer: recent research shows that 18 was a fairly good point for the threshold– a human brain is still developing full reasoning abilities at 17.

    August 21, 2009 at 8:30 pm |
  25. April

    Oh yeah, and I agree that parents need to be held accountable in addition to the youth that commit these kinds of crime. It is a parents duty and obligation to raise children into adult hood as a responsible decent citizens and should be punished equally as the child for crimes of this nature because if youre caring for your child or providing care for your child as on should this should not happen.

    Rod 1148: We also know that they have forensic evidence linking this boy to the crime as it says in the article. Sure forensics have been proven to be wrong from time to time but I as a parent would not turn my child over to authorities or even believe that they would do such a thing without knowing that they have sufficient evidence that implicates my child. I do agree with you however that as a Christian Nation we are all fast to judge one another, myself included.

    August 21, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  26. April

    Uhhh Sabrina: NO! this is not a result of mothers not being home with their children because they have to help provide. In this day and age a mother has to work to help most families survive. Dont you dare try to pin this kind of behavior on every mother who has to work to support a family. This is from lack of supervision and care in the childs life. I dont know the family but I can tell you that my 12 yr old child is never unsupervised to the point where he some how aquires a gun AND goes up to a car with people in it to shoot/rob someone.As a matter of fact, my 12 yr old is never out of my sight long enough to do anything to hurt himself or another. Its called parenting from a distance. Its dumb single minded twits like you that make working mothers feel so guilty about HAVING to work or even wanting to work and contribute to the family finances. This kind of behavior is a result of children not being properly cared for or supervised but I do applaud the fact that the father made this boy turn himself in.

    August 21, 2009 at 7:42 pm |
  27. John Inniss

    All these comments are illogical. There is not enough information in this article, pertaining to the child himself, that would allow anyone to come to reasonable conclusion as to weather or not this child may be rehabilitated. Any conclusion rather, is based solely on speculation and lacks any credibility.

    What's a sad commentary on our society is that this boys life is not worth more than 6, poorly constructed, paragraphs. This article contains no factual information on the incident, other that the girl was shot and died. It is not even certain that the boy shot this girl only that the police "linked" him to the shooting and he turned himself in, freely.

    It is un-American to assume that someone is guilty prior to them being proven so in a court of law

    August 21, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  28. Ang

    Some of you have no reading capabilities and shouldn't be posting. NO where in that article does it state that the dad accompanied him on the robbery. His dad accompanied him when he turned himself in.

    No wonder this country is in this horrible state. People can't even comprehend a basic article.

    Sad Sad Sad.

    August 21, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  29. royce

    listen to all you tree huggers. To bad, I dont give a sh*it about this kid or his family. He killed a young woman, the gun didnt go off by accident, he pulled the trigger. Sentence him to death. That will teach the rest of them. If you think thats to hard on this peice of sh*it, let him go, let him come and live with your family, let him steal from you and then let him once again commit murder, and when its your family member that is killed,I hope your feelings and beliefs are still them same. And if they ll not Ill remind you of what you said when it was someone else's daughter!

    August 21, 2009 at 7:30 pm |
  30. Dan in NC

    A final word to all the folks who want the kid killed immediately, shot to death in a car, injection etc....If the kid was yours you would be the first one to do anything legal and illegal to save your kin. Tragic act, tragic consequences, as I said in a previous mssg I am glad I am not the judge who has to make some sort of sense of this good night ya'll

    August 21, 2009 at 7:26 pm |
  31. tim smith

    Its easy....kill him!!!

    August 21, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  32. dbelcher

    To those of you whom made comments about race and assumed this child was black, I don't recall the article mentioning his race. The color of his skin is irrelevant because your skin color does not determine if you are going to be a criminal or not. Comments like Loki"s and MadMikes restores my faith in humanity, especially after reading comments like James, "Hang em High" and EP, "Kill the Kid. He's Useless anyway." I hope when this child faces a jury that he has people like Loki, MadMike and myself to determine his fate. HE IS NOT AN ADULT!!!! Prisons are for cold blooded killers, rapist and child molestors. This child Does Not fit in this catagory.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  33. Jon

    Hang him and shoot the parents

    August 21, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  34. JC

    For all those out there saying this little hood rat can be "rehabilitated"...HAH! I'm guessing you bleeding hearts have never been to Detroit. I don't remember a time in my life I didn't know right from wrong. I thank my mother for that. As sad as it is this boys mother is probably on crack and his father doesn't know about him or doesn't care.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  35. Sedale

    being FROM Detroit and being IN the neck of the woods this happened in I can say this, this happens OFTEN the only reason this has made the news unfortunately is because it happened to a white lady that wasnt from here =/

    anyway i know first hand why this type of thing happens, considering as a youngin i did much of the same knuckle-headed moves this kid did. I know 3 people under 17 all with pending cases (serious cases), more than that locked up already for 5+ years under blended sentencing. Unfortunately they are getting younger and younger as the years go by, and in this city sad to say nobody cares enough to prevent this type of thing. (Not those who matter anyway)

    You got the father, either he's gone or rarely present. Then u have the mother, who chances are is BARELY making, who ALSO is gone or rarely present. OR is present 24/7 but cares so little about the future of this young man/woman that at an age as earlier as 10-12 if he is a "bad" kid they feel he is too far gone and use the crappy excuse "Let Life Teach him".....wrong

    We live in a world today where violence is heavily promoted, as well as sex, drugs and the most notorious of all Money. Now i dont know the kid whom did this but ive seen this many times over. You got a broke kid, coming from a broken home that wants to grow up too fast. He wants all that stuff you see on the telly. He Wants the Women he wants the Money, and in our community (Detroit) how is it proposed you get these things? Violence, and drugs. Not necessarily from the TV but from your peers, and the person whos supposed to help you to not realize this is wrong (which at 12 is obvious i dont care what yall say) not even to help you realize WHY its wrong, but to provide you with an ALTERNATIVE and to SHOW you WHY this alternative is the way to go BY DEMONSTRATION (DEMONSTRATION being the key word here)

    Like i said i was once a knuckle-headed lets rob the dude at the store kind of kid once upon a time too. Guidance helped me change my ways, Life (in this city) taught me to rob.

    Every kid is hard headed and unwilling to listen to some extent. The problem is when the parents are unwilling to teach and in some cases preach.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  36. Lisa

    If I hear ONE more time "People Kill People, Guns Don't" I think I will throw up. PLEASE STOP – (Brian, S.J. and Andrew)

    As for Andrew and the stupid knife argument (that they would use a knife if they didn't have a gun) think – do you think she might have gotten away if he had had a knife instead of a gun??? THINK – How was America settled/conquered? WITH KNIVES????? OR WITH GUNS???? answer pls....... (I'm waiting...)

    August 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  37. chris

    Folks please remeber this is not about gun control. Gun Control does not work because criminals will always find a way to get a gun no matter what.
    If he had killed this woman with a hammer would you want Hammer Control, would you blame the parent for not hiding his hammer.
    When you were a kid didnt you go throught your parents stuff and they never knew. So again this is NOT about Gun Control or because the Parents didnt hide the gun well enough.
    This is about a 12 YEAR OLD KID, who killed someone in the act of a crime and he deserves to go to an ADULT Jail and spend the rest of his life behind bars.
    FYI Race does not have anything to do with it either for those who want to use the race card.

    Chris in Los Angeles

    August 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm |

    Its Just sad and unfortunate that this incident even happened! As many of You all have said,This Big Kid knew it was wrong...and did it anyway.What could he have wanted so badly that
    He had to kill for it? Was it worth it? .
    If He was MAN ENOUGH to go out there shooting and robbing then He should be MAN ENOUGH to be tried in the court of law as an adult.

    He deserves to be punished

    Julia M-B

    August 21, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  39. john A

    ahhh gee...another ghetto sob story.....i say gas this little sociopath now and save the other inmates the trouble of making a shank and stabbing his greazzzy butt in the future for not paying back for the commasary he begged from them. The facts are the facts.....80% of the crime is committed by 12% of the population...gee i wonder who that is predominartly made up of? hmmmmmm lemme go 'axe' my congressman....ahh-ite

    August 21, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  40. RAD

    Hey JJ, Wake up and smell the coffee! The social fabric in Detroit has already ripped and burned for decades. Its one of the most crime ridden cities in the nation. Its a sad situation that a 12 year old has to be locked up for a very long time. Yes I said "has to be". He needs
    Punishment, Treatment, Education and Rehabilitation while the rest of society needs to be protected from him. Is there anyone out there taht really thinks this is the first violent crime this kid has taken part in?
    A prison term of maybe 30 to life might be just the thing for him. This gives society 30 Yrs to punish and attempt to rehab him. If he is not safe to return to the streets at that time, then let the perole bourd keep him behind bars. Also, this is not a gun issue! Responsible gun ownership had nothing to do with this crime. Criminals will always find a way to get a gun. But they never try to get one legally.
    Some ills of society just do not have a civilized remedy, thats why we have the death penalty and life with no perole!

    August 21, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  41. dylan from mn

    well he deserves to go to prison for a very long time. And some of you need to learn how to spell before you comment.

    August 21, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  42. FrustatedWithNonSenseViolence

    Growing up in developing country in South American, I was unfortunate to be inundated with news of that kind of violence.
    It is very disappointing to see the U.S developing characteristics of a developing country where poverty, gangs and drug cartels are all mixed up and ruining society. I am a strong believer of social cleansings. Hitler was right about his intension; however, his major mistake was that he punished the wrong people. We need someone like him to take on the task of cleaning society. Law enforcement agencies in this country should eradicate gangs of any nationality and all individuals affiliated with them by executing them with no mercy. That way we can have a better living environment and won’t become another statistics.

    That kid and those who were responsible for giving him life should be executed. They don’t have any value in society and don’t positively contribute to it, so why should we keep them alive?

    August 21, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  43. hughglass

    As I have been saying for years these urban thug murders are easily and quickly ended.
    1. 10 year, mandatory sentence without parole for anyone convicted of a felony, while using a deadly weapon. Period.
    2. Publically execute murdering scum like this guy. My preference would be a hanging in a public square. In a far better and safer America, Capital Punishment used to be a deterent to crime. The liberal social scientists (There's no such thing as a bad boy)and democrat judges have so gutted the law that the chance of any murderer being executed are slim, and zero in many states. (And that's if they ever get arrested). With the odds in their favor, the murders opt to take a chance.
    Tell me something more ridiulous than being concerned that this murdering scum must be executed "humanely" Yah, right. This animal swinging at the end of a rope, might well chill some of his pals enthusiasm for killing someone for a couple of bucks.
    3. Concealed carry. Even a murderous bum like this guy is reluctant to attack someone if he is afraid they may be armed. Areas in which Citizens can carry a gun for self defense are statistically much safer than areas like Detroit and Chicago, where only the criminals are armed.
    This problem is solvable but not by the gutless wonder running our cities today.

    August 21, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  44. Maria

    To James....are you certain he loaded the gun? Can it be possible someone else handed him the gun and told him what to do? If that were the case, would that even change your opinion?

    August 21, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  45. Ed

    "your comment is awaiting moderation" is just another way of saying "CENSORED".

    August 21, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  46. Maria

    Keep in mind, maturity of the mind does not correspond with physical growth. The two are quite obviously independant of each other...so for the person who stated that he' no longer a child at 6'2...you might want to check your own maturity level.
    As for his level of comprehension with regards to what he's done...I believe it will be many, many years before this child is able to comprehend the magnitude and scope of what he's done. Most of you leaving comments don't even seem able to comprehend...and I'm guessing mos of you are older than 12.

    August 21, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  47. oh myyy...

    Oh, and Baltimore, with a 63.6% black population

    August 21, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  48. Jamie

    With all of the misery in this world, I'd rather that the finite resources of time, money, and emotion be spent helping kids who haven't commited violent crimes. Decades ago in my town, a boy almost this young used a knife against two other kids. After he got out of juvie, he started killing – the last victim he raped, strangled and threw away like garbage was his niece. Violence in the young isn't a cry for help; it's a preview.

    August 21, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  49. Maria

    It's just after midnight...on August 1st. Why was a 12 year old out after midnight? Where did he get a gun from? Although there is no doubt in my mind that a 12 year old knows the difference between right and wrong..as a mother of 3 boys, age 13, 12 & 8 I can tell you that I know exactly where they are at 12 midnight and I would know if they ever handled a gun...and if I didn't, as far as I'm concerned...then I should be the one held accountable.
    It seems very likley that other people, aside from this 12 year old boy, were very negligent in their own actions and should face some punishments as well as this boy. At least it seems the father did the right thing in having the child turn himself in to deal with the consequence of the horrible act of taking away that young girls life.

    August 21, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26