Girls Interrupted: Minors tried as adults – Are they any more guilty than those that lie to go to war or use drones against children?
loads/2012/10/teen-girls-serving-life-300×237.jpeg” alt=”" width=”180″ height=”142″ />At 11, Sara Kruzan was a good student with a troubled homelife: her mother was addicted to drugs and her father was absent. In need of a parental figure, Kruzan met a 31-year-old man named G.G., who began buying her gifts and taking her and her friends out. G.G. spent two years establishing himself as a father figure in Kruzan’s life and earning her trust, but then, when she was 13, he raped her. Soon, Kruzan was just one of several girls working for G.G. as a prostitute: the time he had spent showering her with gifts had merely been “grooming” her for prostitution, a small investment in comparison to the profits turned in the sex trade. On March 10, 1994, after three years of being subjected to strange men for twelve hours every night, 16-year-old Kruzan made a fatal decision. Finding herself in a Riverside, Calif., motel room with G.G., Kruzan shot him in the neck with a pistol and stole $1,500 and the keys to his Jaguar. She left her purse at the motel, though, which led to her arrest and subsequent confession. Prosecutors offered Kruzan a plea which would have given her the possibility of parole, but she turned it down against her lawyer’s advice, was convicted and sentenced to life without parole. Incarcerated at the Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, Calif., Kruzan is now 29. Her case has garnered the attention of human rights activists and is often cited in debates on the propriety of sentencing of juveniles to life without parole.
The youngest daughter of a small-town preacher, 20-year-old Joanna Plants is incarcerated at the Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center in Nevada, where she will likely remain until at least 2027. In December 2007, the Fallon, Nev., native pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life with a chance at parole after 20 years for shooting and killing her stepmother, Ginger Plants, on March 5, 2007, during a dispute over the family’s pets. Plants, 17 at the time, shot her father’s wife of six years with a .380-caliber Taurus semiautomatic pistol. In prison, Plants is working towards a college degree and has a profile on the website WriteAPrisoner.com, where she describes herself as an “In-house Bunny looking for fun and excitement in lonely place.”
After a Seminole County, Fla., jury in 2006 found Courtney Schulhoff, 18, guilty of first degree murder in the death of her father, a judge delivered her sentence without delay: life without the possibility of parole. Schulhoff, who had been accused of telling her boyfriend Michael Morin to beat her sleeping father to death with a softball bat, then stunned the courtroom by openly stating that it had been she, not Michael Morin, who had killed her father. However, no physical evidence had been found connecting Schulhoff to the murder weapon, and in a later trial, Morin was also found guilty of first degree murder. Prosecutors argued that the couple had conspired to commit the crime, but that Schulhoff, who had reportedly had a tumultuous relationship with her father, was the mastermind. After going to the movies together, the pair proceeded to the condo where Schulhoff and her father lived. As a precaution, Schulhoff, then 16, led her father’s dog outside, while Morin went in and beat the man to death while he lay in his bed. Now prisoner 154495 at the Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, Fla., Schulhoff has obtained a G.E.D., an architectural drafting certificate, as well as law clerk certification and is now working in the prison’s law library. She also teaches a creative writing class for inmates and has published an autobiography. Read more…