Patricide and Matricide

Judge to rule in neo-Nazi’s slaying

Phil Willon
L.A. Times
January 14, 2013

The boy, who was 10 when he killed his father, could be sent to juvenile detention or be given probation, sent to live with relatives or undergo intensive counseling.

Before sunrise, a troubled 10-year-old Riverside boy quietly crept downstairs with a loaded revolver, held it at his sleeping father’s head and, using two fingers, squeezed the trigger.

That’s not in dispute. Neither is this: The youngster will be a free man before his 23rd birthday, if not sooner.

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Expert calls Newtown shooting “fundamentally different” because it started with matricide

Paul LaRosa and Greg Fisher
CBS News
December 19, 2012

The Newtown school shooting is “fundamentally different” from most mass shootings in this country because it “started with a matricide, of a boy killing his mother,” according to attorney Paul Mones, who specializes in defending teens and young adults who have killed their parents.

Newtown shooter Adam Lanza reportedly shot his mother four times in the face while she was in bed before driving to Sandy Hook Elementary School where he murdered 20 children and six adults.

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Beyond the reach of our understanding

July 23, 2010

In Family’s Death, Trying to Fathom the Unfathomable

July 23, 2010

Rare cases of children killing their parents hit hard in area; 2 teens accused in Lenawee Co. deaths over last 2 years

Toledo Blade (Ohio)
Laren Weber Blade
October 5, 2008

Slowly, Mindy Berenyi has begun to forgive herself.

More than a decade has passed since the then-16-year-old girl fatally shot her father in their rural Paulding County home. She claimed she had been a victim of childhood abuse.

Berenyi said she always has known what she did was wrong.

But the desperation and fear she felt was inescapable.

“Even though every rational part of me was screaming at myself not to do it, I shot him,” said Berenyi, now 29, who is serving a life sentence at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville. “I became what I was afraid of that day – someone who is capable of taking another person’s life.”

There were 201 cases of parents believed to be killed by their children reported in the United States last year, according to the FBI. Such cases typically make up about 1 percent of the nation’s ho-micides.
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When Kids Kill Abusive Parents

Anastasia Toufexis;Hannah Bloch/New York and Jeanne McDowell/Los Angeles
Nov. 23, 1992

In the tiny community of Cement, Oklahoma, trees and telephone poles are festooned with pink ribbons. People work tirelessly to collect signatures on petitions. The activity is in support of Billie Joe Powell, a 16-year-old girl charged with fatally shooting her father, who had allegedly abused her. Townspeople hope their efforts will help persuade the court to try the high school sophomore not as an adult but as a juvenile, so that she will receive more lenient treatment.

A few years ago, such sympathy would have been unheard of. Children who killed their parents were the ultimate pariahs. Regarded as evil or mentally ill “bad seeds,” they virtually always earned the harshest judgment of the public and the courts. Says psychologist and attorney Charles Patrick Ewing of the State University of New York at Buffalo: “We take the commandment to ‘honor thy father and thy mother’ very seriously. The implication is that you’re supposed to honor your parents even if they abuse you.”
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Attorney Defends Children Who Kill a Parent

April 05, 1992

Paul Mones pulls a handwritten letter from an office brimming with paper and reads aloud. It’s from one of his clients–a teen-age boy imprisoned for murdering a parent.

“It’s still a hard question of why I did it,” he wrote.

“I sincerely hope that other kids out there will have someone to talk to like I have. If it’s possible, maybe we can set up a correspondence net throughout the United States for kids like us. Who knows, it just might help in getting over the guilt I know we all feel.”

Mones understands. The Los Angeles attorney may be the only lawyer in the United States whose specialty is defending kids who kill.

To many of his colleagues, this is a strange vocation. But dozens around the country have called him for advice in defending parricide cases.

“They say with a nervous laugh, ‘Oh boy, that’s some specialty you got there,’ ” said Mones, who outlined his work in a book, “When a Child Kills: Abused Children Who Kill Their Parents.”

Parricides account for more than 300 of the nation’s 20,000 homicides each year. Most of the killers are white, middle-class boys between the ages of 16 and 18 with no criminal record. Mones argues that most suffer silent years of sexual, physical and psychological abuse before they act against a parent.
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When Child Kills Parent, It’s Sometimes to Survive

NY Times
Published: February 14, 1992

Until she took the stand, 17-year-old Donna Marie Wisener seemed girlishly calm, twirling a ballpoint pen and playing with her hair even as her distraught mother testified in her defense last week. But the girl’s composure quickly collapsed as she recounted how, nine months earlier, she picked up a .357-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver and blasted bullet holes in her father’s head, hip, hand, back and side.

Thus ended the life of Glenn Wisener, the 49-year-old truck driver of whom the jury in Tyler, Tex., had been given a posthumous portrait the prior few days. Mr. Wisener’s wife, Mamie, testified that her husband was the type to throw oak logs at her or Donna Marie when either displeased him, or smash a plate containing his fried eggs if they were not sufficiently runny. He beat his stepson with branches, belts, ropes, hoes and fists — in a worse way, one witness recalled, than he would ever have “whupped” his own livestock. Life With Father

Miss Wisener offered her own grotesque version of life with father: He had once broken two switches on her buttocks. Other times, he handcuffed her to a chair for his amusement or, when her report card was unsatisfactory, beat her unconscious. In more affectionate moments, he gave her “rub downs” and sent her sexually suggestive Valentines.

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Damm Case Fits Pattern

The Denver Post
Diane Carman
March 18, 2007

The story of Linda Damm’s murder last month in Lafayette is enough to make an ambitious prosecutor’s nostrils flare in eager anticipation. This is lurid, made-for-TV-movie material.

This is a slam-dunk conviction.

From the alleged stabbing to the reports of failed attempts to dispose of her remains, the bizarre details continue to emerge. The allegation that the kids partied at the house after the murder with the body decomposing in the back of a car parked in the garage is enough to seal their fate with your average jury.

The murder trial for 15-year-old Tess Damm and her 17-year-old boyfriend, Bryan Grove, is a long way off, but many already have made up their minds.

Paul Mones has seen it all before.

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Expert: Desperation leads kids to kill their parents

By Steve Silverman
The Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL)
February 16, 2002

BLOOMINGTON – The vast majority of children who kill their parents do so out of desperation rather than malice, says a leading expert on such slayings.

Most children in “parricides” – the killing of parents – are victims of chronic abuse who believe they are trapped in unbearable situations, said Paul Mones, an Oregon defense attorney and author of “When a Child Kills.”

“These kids typically have a sense of hopelessness so severe that they’ll take extreme actions,” he said.

Feelings of helplessness tend to intensify when the child’s cries for help are ignored by authorities, school officials and others. A typically passive child may be driven to violence after his or her allegations are disregarded because they believe it’s the only way to stop the abuse, Mones said.

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Why Do Kids Kill?
8-Year-Old’s Killing Spree Raises Questions About Why Children Murder

By Russell Goldman

Nov. 12, 2008

Investigators are still piecing together exactly what took place in an eastern Arizona home, where an 8-year-old boy allegedly shot and killed his father and another man, systematically reloading a rifle and firing at close range.

Details from the St. Johns crime scene are scant, and with a court-imposed gag order, little new information is likely to come out unless the boy is tried for the two counts of murder on which he has been charged.

Police initially suspected the boy had been physically or sexually abused, but before the gag order was imposed Monday, investigators said they had found no evidence of trauma.

“That’s what makes this so troubling,” Roy Melnick, chief of police in St. Johns, told the New York Times Tuesday.

Experts familiar with parental murders by young children, but not involved in this case, said abuse is almost always a factor in such crimes.

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Young killer’s pleas went unanswered; Boy who got little help before killing his abusive father will get counseling in family-style setting.

The Indianapolis Star
April 26, 2001

MARION, Ind. — Wayne Salyers Jr. doesn’t have much reason to trust adults.

His father regularly beat him. His family failed to protect him.

School officials did little. Not when he wrote a counselor, describing how his father beat him with belts and boards. Not when he threw himself around his principal’s ankles, begging her not to call his father to report a behavior problem.

No one, it seemed, would help him. So on a night last August, he abandoned his Hot Wheels, grabbed a .44-caliber Magnum from his parents’ bedroom and killed his father.

On Tuesday, Wayne turned 11. On Wednesday, the Fairmount boy walked into the Grant County Courthouse in handcuffs and leg shackles to see what adults had decided his future should be — a stay of undetermined length at a facility where he can receive counseling and live in a family-style environment.

But those close to the case said it never should have gotten to this point.

“What we have here was a boy that was crying out for help and didn’t get that help,” said Paul Mones, a Portland, Ore., attorney who helped represent Wayne.

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Defender of the Indefensible

Paul Mones Sees Terrified Kids Where Others See Parent Killers
June 07, 1989
Los Angeles Times

I can’t say it’s the most fun thing in the world but I think I have more freedom here than I did at home. –Dale Whipple, 22, currently serving 20 to 40 years in an Indiana prison.  Paul Mones’ clients usually go to prison. Many pull hard time–“Star Trek time,” he calls it, meaning that their earliest parole dates are decades into the next century.

Mones’ clients are young killers.

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