Children who kill children: 6 high-profile cases

If the child suspected in the beating death of a six-year-old boy in a Saskatchewan First Nation community is found to be responsible, he will be one of the youngest killers in Canadian history. Here's a look at some high-profile instances of kids who killed others a few years younger or older than themselves in Canada and abroad.

Incidents include girl killing brother and parents, and two boys beating a toddler to death

Child suspect in 6-year-old's death

9 years ago
Duration 2:26
Alleged killer is known to the RCMP from previous investigations

If the child suspected in the beating death of a six-year-old boy in a Saskatchewan First Nation community is found to be responsible, he will be one of the youngest killers in Canadian history.

The boy has been apprehended by social services, but at less than 12 years of age, he is too young to be charged with the crime.

And in another case, a 14-year-old Toronto boy was charged Tuesday with manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of a 16-year-old boy.

Cases of children found guilty of murder or manslaughter in the deaths of other children are rare, in Canada and abroad. Here's a look at some high-profile instances of children who killed others a few years younger or older than themselves.

Medicine Hat girl kills younger brother, parents

When a 13-year-old Alberta girl was found guilty in the 2006 murder of her eight-year-old brother and her parents, it was believed she was the youngest person in Canada to be convicted of multiple counts of first-degree murder. She was 12 at the time of the slayings.

The girl, who cannot be named, and her then boyfriend Jeremy Steinke, who was 23, carried out the attack at the family’s Medicine Hat home because the parents didn't approve of her relationship.

She was convicted in 2007 of three counts of first-degree murder and began a 10-year-sentence at a psychiatric hospital. In 2011, a judge ruled that she be allowed to live in the community.

Known only as J.R. she appeared by closed circuit television in an Alberta courtroom last October for an update on her progress.

At that time, court heard, J.R. was living alone while working and taking classes. She was responding positively to treatment, has expressed remorse experts consider genuine, and was assessed at a low risk to reoffend, according to a report read in court.

B.C. teens swarm and kill Reena Virk, 14

The Supreme Court of Canada in 2009 reinstated the second-degree murder conviction against Kelly Ellard in the 1997 death of B.C. teen Reena Virk, putting an end to a legal case that spanned more than a decade. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Reena Virk was swarmed and beaten under a bridge on Vancouver Island by a group of teenagers in November 1997.

The 14-year-old got up and staggered across the bridge toward a bus stop to make her way home. Two of the original attackers dragged her back and beat Virk again, leaving her in Victoria's Gorge waterway. Police found her body eight days later.

Six girls — ages 14 to 16 — were sentenced in 1998 for their roles in the first beating. Warren Glowatski, who was 17 at the time, was convicted of second-degree murder a year later.

In 2009, the Supreme Court of Canada reinstated the second-degree murder conviction against Kelly Ellard in Virk’s death, ending a legal case that had lasted more than 10 years.

In November 2012, it was reported that Ellard had again waived her right to a parole hearing.

U.K. boys beat toddler James Bulger to death

Jon Venables, pictured in this 1993 police photo, has reportedly been given a fourth new identity. ((Associated Press))

One of the most high-profile international cases of children killing another child involves the 1993 beating death of two-year-old James Bulger in the United Kingdom.

Jon Venables and his friend Robert Thompson were 10 years old when they lured the toddler away from a shopping centre in Bootle, Liverpool, and beat him to death by an isolated rail line.

Venables and Thompson were convicted of killing the two-year-old and received life sentences. They were released from prison in 2001 and given new names.

Venables was jailed again in 2010 after violating the terms of his contentious release. News reports said child pornography had been found on his computer.

Today, the Daily Mail newspaper in England reported that Venables was "secretly released from jail and given a fourth new identity."

British girl found guilty in strangling deaths of boys

Mary Bell was 11 years old when she was sentenced to life in prison in connection with the 1968 deaths of two boys, ages three and four, in Newcastle, England.

Bell was said to have strangled Brian Howe and Martin Brown "solely for the pleasure and excitement of killing," the BBC reported.

Bell's trial before her conviction for manslaughter created a sensation in the U.K. at the time. She was released 12 years later and given a new identity. She later received a court order that gave her the right for life to anonymity, the Daily Mail reported.

Florida boy convicted of killing eight-year-old neighbour

Eight-year-old Maddie Clifton disappeared while playing in her Jacksonville, Fla., neighbourhood in November 1998.

Her body was found, bludgeoned and stabbed, a week later under the waterbed of a 14-year-old playmate who lived across the street from her home.

Joshua Phillips, who had taken part in the search for Maddie, was convicted and sentenced to life without parole in Maddie’s death.

Police said Phillips confessed, saying he beat the girl with a bat and stabbed her to stop her screaming after he accidentally hit her with a baseball. Prosecutors doubted that account, The Associated Press reported.

Florida boy kills six-year-old girl

Lionel Tate is shown in court on Dec. 5, 2005, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Lou Toman/Associated Press)

In 2001, Lionel Tate was the youngest person to be sentenced to life in a U.S. prison, after his conviction in the death of a six-year-old girl.

Tate was 12 when Tiffany Eunick was beaten to death in Boward  County, Fla., in 1999. He claimed he accidentally killed the girl while imitating pro wrestling moves from television.

In 2004, his conviction was overturned after an appeals court said it was not clear Tate understood the charges. Under a deal, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was put on probation for 10 years. He returned to prison in 2006 after he was sentenced to 30 years for gun possession, a probation violation.

With files from CBC News, The Associated Press