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Ex-con questions life sentences for kids who commit crimes: 'Let him get the help he needs'

A 10-year-old boy who shot and killed his 44-year-old mother last week in Milwaukee is being charged with first-degree homicide as an adult.
Posted at 5:27 PM, Nov 30, 2022

MILWAUKEE — Dominee Meek has a strong opinion on charging a child in adult court, even when that child is accused of a crime as heinous as murder.

"A child of 10 is incapable of thinking beyond the moment," Meek said. "Their brain is just not yet developed to the point where they can conceive of long-term consequences for their behavior."

A 10-year-old boy who shot and killed his 44-year-old mother last week in Milwaukee is being charged with first-degree homicide as an adult. According to a criminal complaint, the boy was allegedly mad at his mom for waking him up early and not letting him have something on Amazon.

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Meek was once that child, charged at the age of 15 with killing a father of two.

He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. The mandatory sentence for that crime is life in prison.

"I remember being 10 and I couldn't imagine being 13, 14, 15. Those concepts and that reality were beyond my grasp," Meek said.

The judge granted Meek a chance at parole after 25 years. In 2020, he got that freedom and now works to intervene in young lives veering off course. It is something he says was lacking in this case and so many others.

"It's compounded when the child who needs it, because they didn't get the help, the treatment they needed, commits a horrible crime, we punish him and say you're responsible for what you did," he said.

Meek does not have all the answers but says he knows from experience the system is broken.

He believes when you lock up a child for life, you only break the system further.

"We're punishing him for things he was not able and that's wrong. So we compound the problem. So the justice system, do not waive him into adult court. Let him get the help he needs in the juvenile justice system. But get him the help that he needs. That's how we do it. That's justice," he said.

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