“We have seen quite a few cases where offenders are appearing to act out at younger ages,” Professor Gary Plank said.
Plank has more than 20 years of investigative experience with the state patrol.
"Anybody that likes to pin it on one specific aspect is going to be wrong. It's a combination of biological factors and developmental factors,” Plank said.
Like discipline, family life and brain development, which he says changes in the teen years.
"And so they see all violence whether it's supposedly the good guys or the bad guys as being good at doing what they do because they won,” Plank said.
Take the famous Charles Starkweather case, where then 14 year old Caril Ann Fugate was found guilty of first degree murder.
“Have you thought much about if you were convicted that you might go to the electric chair?” a reporter asked in 1958.
“Yes I have and I don't really believe that I have anything to worry about. The lord knows that I'm innocent and I know it,” Fugate said.
She was sentenced to life in prison. And 17 years later released on parole
“The courts obviously thought there was some guilt. But also felt that she probably has a lesser degree,” Plank said.
Still Plank says though teen murderers are rare, they should be tried as adults.
“They are believed to be able to reason properly and understand right from wrong and understand that what they do is something that is devastating to others,” Plank said.
Plank also says murders among male teenagers are much higher than female. And on the issue of premeditation, he says most crimes take a lot of thought especially when it comes to getting their hands on a weapon.