The Haunting Stories Of 5 Kids Convicted Of Murder — And What Happened To Them Afterwards

Where are they now?

What Happened To 5 Kids Convicted Of Murder? Where Are They Now fotokita / 123RF

It's hard to think of anyone committing murder. To take the life of another person is something so deeply disturbing that we can only justify it by focusing on the specific, awful circumstances that led up to the homicide. 

We discuss the murderer's mental health, level of sobriety, past childhood traumas, searching for the things that can lead to a killing that we most certainly don't have within ourselves. 


I mean, a person has to live a pretty terrible life to be able to kill someone right? 

That's while child killers disturb us the most. The most innocent people on the planet being driven to kill is something that's hard to wrap our brains around. While most children who commit homicide have had their share of hardships, it's difficult to understand how they could do something so evil. 

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In 2010, the number of murders by juveniles reached its lowest level since at least 1980, according to the United States Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. That same year, one in 12 murders involved a juvenile offender, accounting for 8% of all murders in the U.S. Almost 50% of the time, the juvenile acted alone and the other half of the time, they acted with an adult. 


The number of child offenders spiked during the 1990s, due to a number of changes in state laws attempting to send more juveniles to the adult criminal justice system after a widespread concern about juvenile violence. 

The concern made sense, seeing as the number of murders by children tripled between 1984 and 1994. Thankfully, those numbers have gone back down, but we still wonder what happened to those kids who killed. 

Here are six cases of child murderers from that time period and where they are now: 

1. Danny and Ricky Preddie 


Ten-year-old Demolia Taylor bled to death on a stairwell in London in November 2000 after being stabbed in the leg with a broken beer bottle on his way home from the library. Star Wars actor John Boyega and his sister Grace were some of the last people to see Demolia alive.  

There were three trials of the boy's murder, until Danny and Ricky Preddie, who were 12 and 13 at the time of the killing, were found guilty of manslaughter in 2006. 

According to reports, the brothers cornered the boy and stabbed him. At the time, they were at the head of a notorious gang. Ricky was also charged with attempting to rape an 11-year-old girl before he killed Demolia. 

Ricky was ­released in 2010, and Danny was released in 2011. In 2013, Ricky arrogantly held up a sign that said "Justice For Demolia," while appearing in court for driving charges. His ear was hacked off during a prison fight, and he went back to prison for a third time after police found a stolen motorbike at his bail hostel.


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2. Eric Smith 

In August of 1993, 13-year-old Eric Smith brought 4-year-old Derrick Robie into a wooded area near his home after he found him walking alone to a nearby park. He strangled the boy, smashed his head with a rock and sodomized him with a stick. 


At first, Smith was sent to a juvenile facility but transferred to a state prison in 2001. His lawyers tried to convince the jury that Smith had a mental disorder, but he was still convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced nine years to life in prison 

He's eligible for parole every two years and has been denied eight times. His next chance is in April of 2018.

3. Lionel Tate


In 1999, Lionel Tate's mother was watching 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick, who was a family friend. After dinner, the mother went to bed and left Tiffany with Lionel, who was 12 at the time. 

Around 11 p.m., Lionel ran upstairs and told his mother Tiffany wasn't breathing. He claimed they were wrestling, and he put her in a headlock when she smashed her head on the side of the table. An autopsy revealed that the little girl had 35 injuries, including a cracked skull, a broken rib, a lacerated liver, hemorrhaged kidneys, bleeding in her brain, and dozens of bruises on her little body.

The beating lasted for five minutes, and experts said it was of equal force of falling from a three-story building.  In 2001, he became the youngest person ever in America to be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

But in 2003, an appeals court threw out his conviction on the basis he wasn't given a mental competency hearing before the trial. He was allowed to walk free with a year of house arrest in 2004, but he was found outside of his home by police with a knife and his probation was extended for 15 years. 


In 2005, he was charged with armed robbery and armed burglary with battery in connection with a robbery of a pizza man at gunpoint. 

Tate told the judge he wanted to kill himself and he was hearing voices, but he was deemed competent enough to stand trial and was sentenced to 30 years in prison and is currently serving his time. 

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4. Joshua Phillips


Joshua Phillips was 14 years old when he beat 8-year-old Maddie Clifton with a baseball bat and repeatedly stabbed her to get her to stop crying after she was hit with a ball. 

For a week, he hid her body under his waterbed, and he was sentenced to life without parole. 

Thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that deemed life without parole and cruel and unusual punishment for a juvenile, Phillips might get a shot a shorter sentence. He was a hearing set in September. 


In 2008 during an exclusive interview with the Times-Union, Phillips said he thought he might get out of prison one day. 

“I really don’t know if I deserve it or not,” he said. “But I know I want … a second chance. Maybe I deserve to die in prison.”

6. Alyssa Bustamante

In 2009, 15-year-old Alyssa Bustamante grabbed, beat, strangled, stabbed and slit the throat of 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten before dumping her body into one of two shallow graves she had dug the week before. 


Police discovered a diary entry she wrote the day after the murder that said: 

"I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they're dead. I don't know how to feel atm. It was ahmazing. As soon as you get over the 'ohmygawd I can't do this' feeling, it's pretty enjoyable. I'm kinda nervous and shaky though right now. Kay, I gotta go to church"

Alyssa had a history of being curious with killing someone and even listed it as one of her hobbies on your YouTube page. She was charged with second-degree murder and faces life in prison. 

Emily Blackwood is a writer and editor living in California. She covers all things news, pop culture, true crime.
Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on August 1, 2017 and was updated with the latest information.