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Pennsylvania 10-year-old Facing Homicide Charges

by on October 16, 2014

Yesterday while scrolling through the latest news stories on USA Today and CNN’s websites a story jumped out to me that talked about a potential 10 year old murderer. Allegedly, the young boy held a wooden cane to a 90-year-old woman’s throat and punched her in the throat and stomach causing severe damage, leading to her death. Even more intriguing was the disclosure of the 10 year old’s name, Tristen Kurilla. At the bottom of the web article, there was a disclaimer stating that because the young boy was being charged as an adult with criminal homicide they are able to release his identity. Today when I looked back to the websites for the story I was only able to find it on CNN’s website. USA Today’s article is nowhere to be found.

Why did USA Today take down their web story? While they included an Associated Press supported disclaimer explaining why they exposed his identity, did they face an ethical dilemma with the family? If so why did CNN keep their web story up?

Just because the 10 year old is being charged as an adult does not make him an adult. As journalists should we judge situations based off of actual circumstances, for instance his actual age of 10, or based off of certain and specific situations. I personally feel that we should maintain a level and equal ground and treat every situation the same. There should be no ethical exceptions when disclosing information, Tristen remains a 10 year old little boy, sleeping in a cell doesn’t automatically qualify you as an eighteen year old.

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One Comment
  1. I had a lot of back and forth thoughts while we had the discussion about this in class. While on one hand I agree that if someone murders someone else, then they should have to face the repercussions and live with that the rest of their life. On the other hand, I agreed with the statement in class that Tristen might not have a sense of what death really is in the first place. However, he did say that he did not mean to kill her, but he wanted to hurt her really bad, so this means that he does have the concept of pain and hurting someone. USA Today may have faced an ethical dilemma with the family, but as journalists, I don’t believe that this should be a factor because it is a journalist’s job to report the news of what happened. My question is if Tristen’s name was released because he was being charged as an adult as opposed to a juvenile. Would his name still have been released had he been being tried not as an adult? I can see why this is an ethical dilemma, as I keep going back and forth on it myself.

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