It was announced this week by District Attorney Greg Winters that he will be seeking to try seven Macon teenagers as adults in the case of the rape of a Northeast High School student in January.

The accused include two fifteen-year old students and a fourteen-year old student who were charged in the rape of a special needs student in the boy’s bathroom on January 19, 2012. 

It was released last week that arrest warrants were issued for Greg L. Watkins, 17; Antonio Deaundry Jackson, 18; Jimmie Lee McKnight, 17, and Ashley J. Clark, 17, for the rape.

While it is customary for children under the age of 17 to be tried in the juvenile court the prosecutor of the case has the choice to try juveniles charged with certain serious crimes as adults. 

Because of the heinous nature of the rape that occurred, Winters is choosing to try all seven teens as adults.

I’m sure that some back lash will be heard about the choice to try these students as adults in the court of law, especially by family members and friends, but Winters has the right idea and is correct in his choice.

I can understand that some people would view trying a fourteen-year old or a fifteen-year old as an adult to be wrong.

But in this case it couldn’t be more right. Rape is a brutal, violent crime that should never take place, especially a rape that involves seven violators and a disabled student. 

Something this serious and disgusting should never be allowed to happen to anyone, and for the sake and the peace of mind of the victim in the matter I think the children should be tried as adults.

It is said that defendants need to be able to understand the extent of their crime and also understand why it is that the crime is wrong. 

In this case you have seventeen- year-old students and a legal adult, plus two fifteen year-old students and a fourteen-year-old. 

These students are completely capable of understanding the magnitude of their crime, and in my opinion if they are capable of raping someone, they are capable of dealing with the consequences of their actions in an adult court.

All of the teenagers charged are completely capable of knowing the difference and choosing between right and wrong. 

No matter what the circumstances of the rape, whether it was just a random act of violence or a gang initiation, whether it was a female who was raped or a male, these students are capable of knowing that rape is wrong, violent, and is a crime for a reason. 

If they are old enough to be able to choose to rape someone, regardless of gender or motivation of the crime, then they are old enough to deal with the sentences that will be imposed on them if they are tried and found guilty as adults. 

I think it is horrible that children can be capable of committing such a crime, but unfortunately, and apparently, nowadays children are capable of doing just that.

The rape they committed was wrong and disgusting, but it would be even more wrong to try them in a juvenile court and release them after a few years served to go back out and rape again.

An adult sentence will hopefully teach them that rape should not and is not tolerated in our society. 

I feel for their families, but for the sake of protecting other students and children, these seven teens should face a harsher sentence than can be brought about in juvenile court. 

They have brought it upon themselves.

 

Comments, rebuttals, questions or concerns about this column can be emailed to opinions@mercercluster.com

  • Guest

    I too am horrified by the depravity of this crime and the heinousness of it. However, I disagree that these youths should be tried as adults; simply, because they are NOT adults. I wonder at the magic of how two people, prosecutor and judge, however righteous and noble, still human and subject to err, can ‘POOF’ turn what is legally a child into an adult! It is often done not just to increase a sentence, but to revengefully put children away forever, or as long as a true ‘legal’ adult would be. I think that is overstepping our bounds as human beings.

    Over the next month or so, 2 cases will be argued before The United States Supreme Court where 13 and 14 year olds were sentenced to Life Without Parole.

    We MUST remember that these are children. We must not use magical powers annd  put it into the hands of finite human beingswho then have the power to basically sentence a child to a long agonizing death in prison. It is unconstitutional to sentence anyone under the age of 18 to death; but isn’t this a circumvention of the law when you can sentence a child to death by prison?

    I think the real solution is to modify juvenile laws with strict guidelines and varying degrees of severity in punishment so that these most heinous crimes can be more appropriately dealt with when they come along and not entirely leave the entire fate of a ‘child’ in the  hands of people who sometimes kowtow to public opinion, are sometimes ambitious, etc., basically still human and subject to err.