May 6th, 2010
11:41 AM ET

Fate of 12-year-old killer?






Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

A jury in Detroit this week convicted a 13-year-old boy of a murder that he committed when he was 12.

Demarco Harris was found guilty of felony murder, armed robbery, and felony firearm and curfew violation. An earlier trial in January ended in a hung jury.

Harris shot to death Trisha Babcock, 24, last August 1 as she sat in a parked car. The defendant, who was 12 at the time, was attempting to rob Babcock when he shot her in the chest.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/21/art.crime.trish.babcock2.jpg caption="Steve Babcock holds a senior portrait of his daughter, Trisha Babcock, who was 24 when she was killed in Detroit on Aug. 1."]

"We believe that based upon the facts and evidence in this case that the jury reached the correct result," said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy in a statement.

Harris, who is being held in a juvenile detention center, will be sentenced on June 1, the prosecutor's office said.

The judge has three options at the time of sentencing, Maria Miller, spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, told CNN. She said Harris can be sentenced as a juvenile, sentenced to prison as an adult, or a combination of the two.

Miller would not discuss what choice the prosecutor is recommending for Harris. "We don't speak about that until the day of sentencing," she said.

The victim's father, Steve Babcock, was in the courtroom when the verdict was read. "I broke down and cried like a baby," he said. "Everyone knew he was guilty."

"I did everything I could for my daughter and I did the same for her when she was alive. She would have been proud of me. It's not going to bring my daughter back though."

Mr. Babcock talked to CNN about the appropriate punishment for Harris. "A life for a life," he said, "but unfortunately we don't have the death penalty."

"I feel like it might be a better sentence if he spends the rest of his life in prison. He knew what he was doing. When he picked up that gun he knew what he was doing. "

"I want the whole world to know about my daughter. She graduated top 10 in her class. She had her whole life ahead of her."

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Cammie Sizemore

    so sad and tragic for the family of Trisha Babcock. None of them will ever be the same.

    May 6, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  2. jerry

    The parent(s) of the killer should also be charged with something.

    May 6, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  3. James Black

    The kid should get "Life" in prison. Even my 9-year old grasps the fact that if you shoot someone in the chest that they will die. This kid knew what he was doing when he pulled the trigger. You cannot reform this person. Lock him away for ever.

    May 6, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  4. Michael

    My heart goes out to the father and family! Can it be an influence of the times which causes a 12 year to take a life of a precious soul in such a senseless act?

    May 6, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  5. Karen

    Trisha Babcock 24, graduated top 10 in her class. What a horrible loss to her family, friends and society. Demarco Harris should be removed permanently from society. He is a murderer regardless of age, and is not redeemable! A child that kills at age 12 is is missing a large part of what constitutes a human being.

    May 6, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
  6. matt gordon md

    Yes, it would probably be more of a punishment for the convicted killer to spend life in prison. Death penalty or life without parole are both dreadful choices, but so is the choice to wield a firearm while committing another crime. The egregious nature of the killing is alarming for someone so young to commit, and so senseless, since surely the young woman would have given up her car. My condolences and prayers for the Babcock family. -M. Gordon MD

    May 6, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  7. Diane

    My heart goes out to the Babcock family. Yet, at the same time, this now convicted murderer is a child...How many adults failed him?

    May 6, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  8. Geri

    A 12-year-old knowns that a gun can kill. The death penalty would have been fair; however if that is not possible; jail for the rest of his life!... Geri

    May 6, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  9. jesse

    Life in Prison without possibility of parole. And if that isn't enough, then add 23 hours a day in solitary confinement.

    Jesse in Texas

    May 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
  10. Kirsten Verdi, San Antonio, TX

    The responsibility should rest on the shoulders of those who were raising him. This tragic incidence didn't just happen out of the blue, I bet this kid had problems long before which remained ignored. Why/how did the kid get a hold of a gun in the first place, where were his parents at the time of this crime?

    May 6, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  11. barry

    I hope the judge does the right thing and sentence him as a juvenile. He was 12 at the time and should have to go to couseling for everything he is still a child.

    May 6, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
  12. JWalker

    Truly a said story. Seems like a senseless act of crime. And for what? She was a beautiful lady with a bright future ahead. My condolences to the Babcock Family.

    May 6, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  13. Jessica

    This is a terrible thing that happend. And I am conflicted with whether he should be sentenced as an adult or juvenile. Prison is no place for a child.

    May 6, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
  14. Ann Miles

    My heart goes out to both families, the victim and the defendants'. Both have lost a family member in this terrible tragedy. A 12 year old that commits a crime should not have to spend the rest of life their behind bars. At such a young age, this child can and should be rehabilitated. I know you say "he knew what he was doing", but I doubt if he had the mentality to think of what the outcome would be. I will continue to Pray for both families.

    May 6, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
  15. Andacar

    What a horrible thing. One promising life ended for no reason, another wasted for a stupid holup. I pray to God my kids don't grow up to be like this idiot.

    May 6, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
  16. Joshua Taylor

    I feel for the father. This 12-year-old kid was man enough to pick up a gun, he's man enough to accept responsibility. There is NO excuse.

    May 6, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  17. Joey Anshewitz

    the boy knew what he was doing was wrong, but the life sentence is not what he deserved. the parents should at least be evaluated firstto see if they were also at fault (for the gun).

    May 6, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
  18. ida

    Where are the parents, and why are they not held legally responsible for their child's actions?

    May 6, 2010 at 12:20 pm |