When you think about a cold-blooded killer getting the death sentence, teenagers sentenced to death isn’t usually the first thing to come to mind. At that age, it makes more sense to be out making memories, going to parties, or doing your homework than getting into that kind of trouble.
That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, though.
Join us today, as we take a look at 10 teenagers who were sentenced to death for the crimes they committed.
- Michael Shane Bargo Jr
- Austin Myers
- Dylann Roof
- Pedro Espinoza
- Travis James Mullis
- Dalton Prejean
- James Matthew Hyde
- Brandon Lee Bradley
- Sean Sellers
- James Terry Roach
1. Michael Shane Bargo Jr
Our first entry into today’s list of teenagers sentenced To death is the recently-convicted Michael Shane Bargo Jr.
In a highly-publicized 2011 murder trial, jurors heard the shocking tale of how Bargo and a group of other teenagers conspired to attack and murder then-15-year-old Seath Jackson. The group allegedly lured Jackson to a house, where they beat, tortured, shot and killed him, before burning his body.
Bargo was 19 at the time of the incident. He was sentenced to death according to Florida state laws, in 2017, while his four co-conspirators all received life sentences.
2. Austin Myers
In October 2014, Austin Myers was sentenced to death in a Warren County courtroom, in Ohio. He was 19 at the time and the youngest inmate on death row.
Myers and a friend, Timothy Mosley, hatched a plan in January of the same year to murder and rob 18-year old Justin Black in his home in Wayne Township. The two men faked their way into the home of the boy, who knew them, claiming to be there to watch TV. Once in, they attempted to strangle him with a garotte wire, before failing and resorting to stabbing him 21 times with a pocket knife.
Myers, who did not stab Black, but disposed of his body, which he shot and covered with dissolving enzymes, received the death penalty. His accomplice made a plea deal and received life in prison.
3. Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof is possibly one of the most infamous killers on this list of teenagers sentenced to death, which is why we’re expanding the rules slightly for him.
The mastermind behind the shocking 2015 shooting massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was 21 years old at the time. Having opened fire on a congregation of churchgoers who had welcomed him in moments before, he was responsible for nine deaths that day.
Perhaps it’s his relatively young age, or maybe comments from him which made him seem happy to have done it, but his place on death row has met with great support from the public.
4. Pedro Espinoza
Pedro Espinoza was only 19 when he mistook Jamiel Shaw II for a rival gang member, shooting him on his way home from school and making his way onto our list of teenagers sentenced to death.
Espinoza, an 18th Street Gang member from Los Angeles, approached and suddenly attacked Shaw nearby his home on the fateful evening of March 2nd, 2008. Shooting him first in the abdomen, then in the head, the outcome of Espinoza’s case was a foregone conclusion. He was tried and sentenced to death in 2012.
5. Travis James Mullis
21-year-old Travis Mullis was arrested in 2011 for the murder of his three-month-old son. Three years later, he was found guilty in a court of law and sentenced to death in Galveston, Texas.
Mullis savagely crushed his son’s head under his foot when the baby refused to stop crying. Further accusations of sexual abuse from his cousins and relating to his infant did nothing to help his case, and he was given the death penalty after turning himself into the police.
6. Dalton Prejean
In 1977, Dalton Prejean and three friends were pulled over by a state trooper on their way home from a nightclub. The officer, who was searching Prejean’s brother, Joseph, triggered a response from Prejean, who didn’t approve of the way he was frisking him.
He approached the officer with a gun hidden behind his leg, and shot the trooper twice, killing him. After fleeing the scene, Prejean, 19 at the time, and his companions were apprehended a few hours later.
After several commutations and stays, Prejean was executed by electric chair in May of 1990.
7. James Matthew Hyde
James Matthew Hyde was only 17 years old in 1995, but that didn’t keep him from murdering Albertville police detective Andy Whitten at his home.
Hyde arrived at the officer’s door at 9 PM and fired at him through his closed door. The boy had been hired by career criminal, Larry Whitehead, to carry out the hit on the detective. Both men were sentenced to death, although Hyde’s sentence has since been reduced, owing to his age.
8. Brandon Lee Bradley
Brevard County courts were involved in the controversial resentencing of Florida resident, Brandon Lee Bradley, who shot and murdered Deputy Barbara Pill.
During an inspection, the officer reached into Bradley’s car to turn off his ignition. In response, she was shot repeatedly, at close range. Of the eight shots he got off, five connected and would result in Pill’s death.
His initial death sentence was later commuted to a life sentence, which was a controversial decision at the time.
9. Sean Sellers
Sean Sellers is one of only 22 people in the United States to be sentenced to death for crimes committed under the age of 18. In March 1986, Sellers murdered his mother and stepfather in their sleep. He also later confessed to killing a Circle K convenience store clerk for refusing to sell him a beer.
Sellers also claimed to be a practising Satanist at his trial.
He was executed by lethal injection, on February 5th, 1999.
10. James Terry Roach
James Roach and an accomplice raped and murdered a fourteen-year-old girl and murdered her seventeen-year-old boyfriend in 1977. Despite the evidence, Roach was mentally retarded, he was sent to the electric chair in Columbia in 1986.
His execution would later be the subject of a human rights abuse act levelled at the United States. This was a landmark case, which found the state guilty under the American Declaration of the Rights of Man.
The death sentence is a controversial topic. It’s no surprise, then, that teenagers sentenced to die would be even more so.
Is it a question of being too young to know how much better their lives could have been? Or should everyone take responsibility for their own lives, and accept the stresses that come with that?
What do you think? Can a teenager ever commit a crime so bad they should be sentenced to death for it? Leave a comment about these teenagers sentenced to death below, and make sure to subscribe for more stories.