We are murder victims families of those killed by offenders under age 18 at the time of the crime. The stories of some of our murdered loved ones can be found on our “Memorials” pages, the heart and soul of this website and organization.
We exist to support and inform each other. Our organization takes no stand on what sentences for these offenders should be: cases and victims’ views vary widely, and these decisions are made by the criminal justice system that our society has collectively created. We exist to support the rights of all victim family members to be heard and participate fully as they choose in the criminal justice system. Read more About Us and What We Believe..
VICTIM/FAMILY MEMBER NEWS
- NOVJL welcomes our new national President Liz Hare whose brother was killed by teens in South Dakota.
- With Liz’s new leadership, we are also changing our name to better reflect our growing membership and mission. We are transitioning into NOVJM, the National Organization of Victims of Juvenile Murderers.
- Family and friends in Massachusetts of murder victims Beth Brodie and Janet Downing have organized efforts to oppose the parole of their killers – something they were not told about until AFTER the law was changed and the killers came up for release.
- We would like to help to put a roof on a widow’s decaying home, her husband murdered by teens, leaving their family in real difficulty. Can you help?
- Laura Haynes Shimek gives powerful testimony before Iowa court granting parole opportunities to her mother’s murderer. Read her moving victim impact statement.
- Victim’s father tours nation with teen killer’s grandfather with programs to provide alternatives to youth violence.
- Illinois victims’ family member awarded for her leadership in helping the elderly.
- Grieving Ohio family’s story featured in two-part national Dr. Phil show in which teens present at the scene definitively fail polygraph tests.
- A Fallen Officer Hero from Texas killed by teens.
- A Michigan father works for justice for his murdered daughter.
- Tom Mauser, father of a Colorado Columbine massacre victim, releases wonderful book Walking in Daniel’s Shoes.
- We support the bi-partisan national movement to include victims rights in the U.S. Constitution.
- Victim’s sister responds to misinformation in news coverage of their family’s case.
- More news coverage of victims families of teen killers here and here.
NEWS ON NATIONAL DEBATE OVER SENTENCING OF TEEN KILLERS
- Michigan legislature passes victim-friendly bill to deal with teen killers’ life sentences. U.S. Court of Appeals issues order staying any parole hearings for teen killers. Michigan Legislature passes on Miller-compliance legislation that is not retroactive. Victims families have suffered re-traumatization in order to be heard. Details here. Attorney General Schuette shows exemplary concern for victims families in his persistence against offender advocates.
.PHOTO: Jody Robinson, NOVJL Michigan
- The Debate That Agonizes Victims Families: whether or not the Miller v Alabama Supreme Court ruling should be applied retroactively or not rages on, with victims families traumatized by all the uncertainty and re-opening of wounds. Our tally to date at the end of 2013: Against retroactivity (and for victims) stand Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Alabama, and Louisiana. For retroactivity (and for offenders) stands Massachusetts, Iowa, and Mississippi. Many states’ Supreme Courts have not yet heard relevant cases or ruled yet, so more are expected in 2014. Legal experts predict that the issue of retraoactivity will end up back in the U.S. Supreme Court in the next few years.
- Massachusetts Supreme Court votes to traumatize victims families by re-opening their loved ones’ murder sentences. A leading newspaper calls for victims families to be treated better.
- Reporter outraged over Psychologist’s argument that a rich kid cannot be held accountable for people he killed because he had “affluenza” – parents who spoiled him.
- Lousiana‘s Supreme Court joins the growing list of state Supreme Courts to find that Miller is NOT retroactive, and that long finalized cases of teen killers sentenced to life are not eligible for re-sentencing.
- Alabama’s Supreme Court joins other state courts and lawmakers in finding that the Supreme Court’s ruling last summer for optional sentences only for teens that kill is NOT retroactive.
- Pennsylvania‘s Supreme Court rules against retroactive application of the Miller Supreme Court decision while the Legislature votes to preserve Life Without Parole sentences as an option going forward. And, as elsewhere nationally, offender advocates’ claims about offender numbers are exaggerated.
- Victims’ families in California approve as the 9th Circuit rules in support of the discretionary life sentences in place for teen killers.
- Nebraska‘s new law for sentencing of teen killers is supported by many victims families and legal experts.
- Iowa‘s Supreme Court orders re-sentencing for teen killers, re-traumatizing victims’ families
- South Dakota - a lone Court rules on one offender’s case.
- Connecticut legislation to free teen killers defeated
- The Texas Senate Affirms Appropriate Prison Sentences
Texas‘ legislature passes a bill in special session to comply with Supreme Court regulations on sentencing of juveniles who commit capitol crimes.
- Legislation defeated in Illinois
Illinois Legislators supported concerns of victims and law enforcement in defeating retroactive Miller v Alabama compliance legislation. See our fact sheet. The Illinois Supreme Court is one of several states still pending on the issue of retroactivity - oral arguments were heard 1-15-14. Decision could be many weeks or months later.
- A New Hampshire case is reflecting national trends in offender re-sentencing after Miller ruling
- Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy dissects legal problems in Supreme Court’s decisions in Juvenile Killer Sentencing
- Montana abolishes life sentences for teen killers
Photo: Officer Larry Lasater of Pittsburgh, California, Killed in the Line of Duty by a Teenager Sentenced to Life
- Teen killers challenge their prison sentences all over the nation
Victims families report being re-traumatized by the flurry of legal and legislative activity around the nation following the Miller Supreme Court ruling, as we feared. Join victims’ families in discussion on our Facebook page. California has already begun re-sentencing teen killers. We note that these appeals by offenders for shorter sentences will often fail as many courts are affirming that the Miller case should NOT be applied retroactively and even where it is being applied retroactively, many offenders who do win re-sentencing are still receiving (and will often be serving) life sentences. Appeals to reduce prison sentences for these crimes even include the D.C. Sniper, worst teen mass murderer in USA, who is challenging his life sentences despite his former statements that he feels “like scum” for what he did. And an infamous school-shooter loses his bid for early release.
- NOVJL does not support the incarceration or over-sentencing of the innocent or minimally culpable offenders. NOVJL does support the careful use of risk assessment tools and other good data on a case by case basis to identify which more dangerous younger offenders should be tried as adults.
- Citizen’s Resource compiles valuable scientific information on psychopathology, how to best prevent violence, and evaluate offender sentencing. Many of NOVJL’s victims were murdered by teenage psychopaths.
- Teens that kill in the news across the nation:
-horrifying details emerge in brutal rape/murder of teacher/mom of three; 14 year old student arrested for the crime
- Illinois teen, 14, allegedly repeatedly stabs her sister, 11, for being “ungrateful”
- Colorado teen predator sentenced to life for murder of 10 year old girl
- Oklahoma teens kill Australian student “for the fun of it”, so horrific even the President of the United States denounces it. Families involved agonize.
- teens kill elderly World War II hero veteran.
- shocking story from West Virginia of likely psychopaths killing a classmate.
- teen kills family “just because . . .”
- teen killer found decades later teaching college under assumed name.
- 17 year old convicted of murdering infant just because the child’s mother had no money when he was robbing her.
- Arizona Teen brags about killings on social media.
- 14 year old charged in murder of teacher.
Photo: NOVJL murder victim family members of those killed by teens from all over the nation at the United States Supreme Court during the argument of a case that could free their loved ones’ murderers.
NOVJL For Victims Rights and Sound Public Policy Regarding Teens Who Kill
NOVJL exists to support and inform victims families and friends of those killed by offenders under age 18. Given the significant advocacy effort that exists for those offenders that gives no information or support to the victims families of these crimes, we found it necessary to organize ourselves. NOVJL is devoted to victims rights and sound public policy regarding teens who kill.
How these offenders are sentenced is the subject of a significant public policy debate currently in which our main concern is that victims’ voices are heard. We are concerned also with the significant financial resources devoted to helping these offenders, while virtually no help, information, or support of any kind is being offered to victims’ families who have been horrifically traumatized by brutal murders of their loved ones. We are heartbroken each time we hear of victims families who had no idea there was an effort underway to free their loved ones’ murderers (until after it was too late to be heard in the process!)
This website tells the true stories of those murdered by teens – truth that is especially important in the face of the willingness of juvenile advocates to minimize and even misrepresent the facts of these horrible crimes in their attempts to paint a picture of reduced culpability by the killers. We know there is much to discuss in public policy regarding teens who kill, but good decisions can only be made when the full facts are known. We know that in every crime some offenders are more or less culpable depending on the individual facts and circumstances. But LIGHT is a great “disinfectant”. Blurring the facts of these crimes does not improve the public policy discussion.
We advocate for the constitutional and statutory rights of crime victims that exist in all 50 states and federally. We advocate for best possible policies to prevent such tragedies from ever happening again.
We understand the controversy around the issue of teens who kill and the destruction left in the aftermath of those crimes - we have lived it. We understand the powerful feelings that the youthful age of these offenders creates. We understand the problems in our criminal justice system, as with any human institution. We often do not understand, however, the incredible focus on helping these offenders with no compassion for or attention to the victims they created. The behavior of juvenile justice reform advocates towards the victims families of these crimes during their national policy change push of the last few years has been poor, to say the least. These offenders have committed some of the most horrific murders imagineable. We miss our loved ones horribly.
Help Find and Support Victims Families
There are thousands of murder victims’ family members in this nation who are not aware that there is a movement that supports and advocates for teen killers that seeks to change the terms of their incarceration, and often without any notice to victims families. If you are aware of any victims families of juvenile killers please invite them to contact us.
“Victims don’t want vengeance, they want healing: but there is no healing until justice is done. And justice is never ‘done’ as long as the sentence can be undone.” ~NOVJL member
“Those under 18 years old may as a general matter have diminished culpability relative to adults who commit the same crimes, but that DOES NOT mean their culpability is always insufficient to justify a life sentence.”
~Chief Justice John Roberts, Concurring Opinion, Graham v. Florida, 2010
“Daniels and several members of his family begged officials to lock up Markus Evans for an extended time . . . [but after Evans only served 14 months in juvenile custody for shooting and almost murdering Daniels, his 7th violent felony by age 15] Evans was released at age 17 with no supervision . . . Evans reported to police he was so angry that he robbed a liquor store and shot the clerk . . .17 year old Jonoshia Alexander . . .was found dead in the alley, shot in the back of her head.”
~Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 29, 2011