An 11-year-old Tennessee boy has been found guilty of fatally shooting an 8-year-old neighbour girl with a shotgun in a fight over puppies, and will spend the rest of his childhood in state custody, court documents showed on Saturday.
Benjamin Tiller was found guilty early last week of first-degree murder in the October slaying of McKayla Dyer in a trailer park in White Pine, a small town about 42 miles (68 km) east of Knoxville, according to a court order from Tuesday.
“Mr. Tiller is in desperate need of help, and our society has a great need for Mr. Tiller to receive it,” Judge Dennis “Will” Roach wrote in ordering Tiller placed into the custody of the Department of Children’s Services until he turns 19.
Urnaija reported the October incident, which stemmed from a chat Tiller was having with three girls who were outside the window of his mobile home in October, authorities and court documents said.
Tiller asked one of them if he could see her new puppies, but Dyer, a third-grader who attended school with Tiller, refused, authorities said.
Then the boy retrieved his father’s 12-gauge shotgun, shot the girl in the chest from the window, and then threw the weapon outside by the girl’s body, authorities said.
An attorney for Tiller could not immediately be reached for comment, though local media reported that Tiller’s family plans to appeal the decision.
According to the court documents, posted online by local media, Tiller had been trained in firearm safety and had gone hunting with his grandfather and father.
After being blocked from the puppies, Tiller returned with the shotgun and the victim laughed at him, doubting the firearms were real, the documents said.
“Tiller then made certain the gun was loaded, cocked the hammer of the gun, and shot the victim just above the heart,” the documents said.