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Teen killer is a victim, too

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Her life has been the stuff of nightmares.Abandoned pretty much from birth by a gang-banging father who apparently felt his criminal family was more important to him then his real one. He's now racked up a 15-page criminal record that includes nearly every violent act imaginable.Neglected by a crack-addict mom who would disappear for long stretches of time, crashing inside inner-city flophouses while getting her latest fix.Pregnant at the age of 15, while already a solvent abuser herself, racked by depression and anxiety and loneliness and probably all sorts of other things most of us could never comprehend.So is it any wonder this girl, before celebrating her "Sweet 16", would turn out to be anything but a violent criminal?Sad, yes. But surprising? Not really.Yet there she was in court last week, pleading guilty to second-degree murder for last summer's brutal knifing of a woman the Crown dubbed an "innocent bystander." (Read story HERE)Her own mother is also charged in the slaying. The woman remains before the courts and is presumed innocent. Police and the Crown allege it was the mother who initiated the deadly incident by getting involved in a fight at a crackhouse, then calling her daughter and demanding she come over and save her.The teen - who can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act - was given the maximum penalty of seven years. Four will be spent in custody. The remaining three under community supervision.Her lawyer, Greg Brodsky, told court the may as well have come "off an island or out of a bush" given her complete lack of understanding about what society considerns "normal."And he's right.That's not an excuse for what she did. It's simply a fact. And there are countless others like her out there, living in conditions we wouldn't wish on our worst enemies, being shown absolutely zero guidance in life and headed down the same dark, lonely road.Is this teen killer a lost cause? Perhaps. Brodsky says her prison sentence will hopefully give her a chance to be taught how to function in society.That seems like wishful thinking, as the place to be taught that kind of valuable life lesson would come in a safe, loving, nurturing home - not a jail.However, she has been accepted into a relatively new federal program that will include a very aggressive treatment plan. Her progress will be watched closely, which at least gives her a fighting chance.I know many of you reading this will have long ago cued the violins, figuring I'm just some bleeding heart who's bought into this girl's sob story hook, line and sinker.Only it's not a story. It's her reality. And a damn sad one at that.Let's not forget the victim of the killing, Kristi Hall, who did absolutely nothing to deserve her fate. It appears she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and paid the ultimate price.But let's also not be foolish enough to think there was just one victim here. The 16-year-old killer is a victim, too. Her fate was seemingly sealed pretty much from the moment she entered this world.www.mikeoncrime.com

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About Mike McIntyre

Journalist, national radio show host, author, pundit and cruise director ... Mike McIntyre loves to keep busy.

Mike is the justice reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press, where he has worked since 1997. He produces and hosts the weekly talk radio show Crime and Punishment, which runs on the Corus Radio Network in several Canadian cities.

Born and bred in Winnipeg, Mike graduated from River East Collegiate and completed his journalism studies in the Creative Communications program at Red River College.

He and his wife, Chassity, have two children.

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