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Boy 11, found guilty of shooting and killing girl,8

By Arthur Weinreb     Feb 10, 2016 in Crime
White Pine - Benjamin Tiller, 11, wanted to see eight-year-old MaKayla Dyer's puppies. She said no. So he shot her. The little girl passed away in her mother's arms.
On Feb. 1, Judge Dennis Roach, a juvenile court judge in Jefferson County, Tennessee found Tiller guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Dyer last year. Under Tennessee law, first-degree murder is defined as an intentional killing that is planned ahead of time or a killing committed during the commission of a felony. The maximum punishment for an adult found guilty of first-degree murder is death.
According to the judge's Final Adjudicatory and Dispositional Order [PDF], the killing took place on the night of Oct. 3, 2015. Tiller was in his mobile home at a window, talking to three young girls who were standing outside. These three were MaKayla, her 11-year-old sister, and an 11-year-old friend. While talking, Tiller said he wanted to see the puppies belonging to MaKayla and her sister and asked them to go and get them. They refused.
Tiller then left and shortly returned with a 12-gauge shotgun and a bb gun. He told the girls he had guns and MaKayla laughed, not thinking the guns were real. Tiller then made sure the shotgun was loaded, cocked the hammer and fired downward. MaKayla was hit just above the heart and fell backwards. Her mother arrived shortly afterwards and held her daughter in her arms while she died.
Tiller then threw the guns out the window and another child tried to throw them back to him. The boy then closed the window and the guns remained on the ground. After the shooting, Tiller laughed at the girls.
Tiller's great-grandparents claim the shooting was done by another child because the guns were found on the ground. But evidence before the court showed the bullet travelled downward from the window to MaKayla.
Judge Roach found as a fact the 11-year-old had gone hunting with his father and grandfather and had been trained in firearm safety.
As to disposition, Roach found Tiller was in need of rehabilitation and treatment. The judge stated Tiller was in "desperate need of help" and society needs him to get it. Roach said the state should use all resources at their disposal to find out why he killed an eight-year-old and treat and rehabilitate him so he will never do it again. The judge wrote, "A child who commits first-degree murder cannot be willy-nilly turned loose into society. To hold otherwise would, in the opinion of the Court, fly in the face of reasonable prudence."
Tiller was placed in the custody of the Department of Children's Services where he will be held until he turns 19.
Tiller's great grandmother told WATE TV, an appeal is being planned.
More about children who kill, benjamin tiller, MaKayla Dyer, juvenile court, Juvenile crime
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