Thriller Thursday: Josh Phillips – child killer or victim?

Due to this post from Roni Loren (thank you for the warning, Roni) I’ve decided to remove most photos. 

On November 3rd, 1998, eight-year-old Maddie Clifton disappeared. Over 400 volunteers searched, and a 100,000 reward was offered. Police had an immediate suspect. Fifteen years earlier, a neighbor had been charged in two sexual battery cases, although both were dropped. Cops had it half right, but they had the wrong neighbor. One week later, fourteen-year-old Joshua Phillips, one of the volunteers searching for Maddie, was arrested and charged with little Maddie’s murder.

Joshua’s mother, Melissa, made the horrific discovery when she thought her son’s waterbed was leaking.

As I pondered where to begin, I noticed a wet spot on the floor at the corner of Josh’s softside waterbed and groaned, “Don’t tell me that bed is leaking!” I touched the corner of the mattress and it was soaked. I decided to investigate the cause of the leak rather than tackle the cleaning. I needed to find out how bad the leak was; whether I’d need to drain the bed or not.

As I lifted the corner of the mattress, I noticed a white sock and figured it was one of Josh’s, so I started to pull on it, but it wouldn’t budge. I wondered how it got there in the first place, and now was puzzled as to why it wouldn’t pull free.

About that time I noticed black electrical tape holding the black frame of the pedestal together and surmised the bed must have been leaking for quite some time and apparently Josh had attempted to hold it together with the tape so he wouldn’t get into trouble.

The tape freely pulled away from the pedestal and the wood gave way just enough that I could at least see the sock better. I grabbed it, and this time, felt something else. I still had no idea what I was about to find, but needed more light, so I went to another room and retrieved a flashlight.

As I pulled the pedestal slightly away, the sock fell down and I felt something cold. At the same time, the beam of the flashlight showed me something I could never have been prepared to see. It could not be what I thought it was. Yet, somehow I knew exactly what I had found – the missing little girl from across the street. —Melissa Phillips.

Police arrested Josh at school. He confessed he’d murdered Maddie, but that it began as an accident. Josh claimed he’d accidentally hit the little girl in the head with a baseball, and panicked, he brought her into his room. Maddie started to cry. Josh claimed he was afraid of his father’s reaction if he found the girl in the house and didn’t want to get in trouble for hurting her. He beat her with a baseball bat and stabbed Maddie to keep her from crying, and then hid her body beneath the bed. Police found both weapons.

According to his mother, Josh was railroaded from the start. She’s stated he was taken to a questioning room alone, which is a big no-no unless parental permission has been given. His father was eventually allowed to go into the room, but Melissa was told the room wasn’t large enough for both parents.

She claims Josh was questioned by police even after he’d asked his father if he needed a lawyer. There were no audio or visual recordings. Josh never signed a confession. Josh told his mother later that he was questioned at least five times without his father present and before his attorney arrived.

My research showed a few different resources claiming Josh’s father was abusive and that generated his panic after hurting Mattie. I don’t pretend to understand the boy’s true motivation, but there are laws in place to protect minors during interrogation, no matter the crime. If these weren’t followed, there is a major problem with the conviction. And there have been cases over the years of minors being manipulated by police without their parents present.

Josh’s mother has also made accusations about the investigation. Police had originally called off the search for Maddie after a few days, but outraged neighbors assembled to continue the search. Melissa Phillips says there was no sign anything had happened in the house. According to her, detectives lied about evidence they found, including blood spatter on the ceiling and floor. What’s more–and most suspicious to me–is that Josh’s dog never alerted the family to a body being in the room. A beagle, no less. I hate to be graphic, but there was a body decomposing in a room for a week. How was there no smell? Even if the family somehow didn’t notice, how does a beagle not catch the scent?

Melissa also said that two days before she discovered Maddie’s body, a cadaver dog was just outside Josh’s opened bedroom window (a foot from the waterbed) and had no reaction. Scent hounds never tracked the little girl to the Phillips home.

Even more disconcerting, the night before Maddie was discovered, several officers were in the Phillips home as part of a neighborhood search. The house had also been searched three times before. Officers were in Josh’s room. Yet, they found–and smelled–nothing.

During psychological testing before trial, one of the x-rays to Josh’s brain showed the presence of bilateral frontal lobe lesions, which can affect a person’s ability to tell right from wrong. Melissa says the defense lawyer didn’t bring this before the jury and admitted to her and her husband he’d failed Josh.

To this day, Josh says he doesn’t really know why he killed Maddie, and he has expressed remorse. He was charged and convicted of first degree murder, as an adult. Being under the age of 16 at the time of the murder spared him the death penalty.

Josh’s first appeal was denied in 2002. In 2004, Melissa sought a new trial. Two of the officials involved in his original sentencing have had second thoughts about  denying him parole. In 2005, new hearing dates were set, but Josh is still waiting.

Josh’s father was killed in a car crash 18 months after his arrest. Melissa is struggling to pay for new psychological testing and continuing Josh’s appeal.

This case has so many unanswered questions. I do believe Josh killed Maddie, but the fact no one noticed her body for a week–including police and a dog–really bugs me, assuming his mother is being truthful. And if police didn’t follow the rules when questioning Josh, that’s a major problem. I’m not saying he shouldn’t be in prison, but the system is in place for a reason.

What do you think? Is Melissa telling the truth or living in denial? Should Josh get new trial?

Read Melissa’s full story here.

About Stacy Green

Stacy Green is the best selling author of psychological thrillers and mystery with a dash of romance. As a stay at home mom, she's blessed with making writing a full-time career. She lives in Iowa with her supportive husband, daughter, and their three fur-babies.
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49 Responses to Thriller Thursday: Josh Phillips – child killer or victim?

  1. How sad and scary! If things were done wrong then there probably should be another trial. Being a mom I can’t help but feel for the mother. Why wouldn’t she delude herself a little? It’s her child and no one wants to accepts the bad in their child.

  2. Adriana Ryan says:

    Wow, this is crazy! Maybe the water from the water bed somehow diluted the scent to the dogs/humans? That’s the only thing I can think of for why the body didn’t smell. I think Joshua probably has a lot of psychological problems, and his interrogation was definitely unconstitutional. I think they should parole him and get him into therapy and on meds. Do his lesions require surgery, do you know?

    • Stacy Green says:

      Hmm. That’s a good theory. Part of me thinks Josh’s mom is in denial/not being up front, but it’s a fact there were police in the house who noticed nothing. If she’s being truthful, then his constitutional rights were definitely violated. I’m not sure about the lesions. Seems like the answer is yes, though. Thanks!

  3. Because of the frontal lobe lesions, I wonder if he should be in some sort of medical facility instead of a prison. Also, I’ve always had a problem with people this young being tried as adults. To me, a fourteen year old is still a child, and I wonder if he could be helped. I have so many mixed feelings about this because of Joshua’s age. I agree with Adriana…therapy and meds should have been a consideration instead of just sticking him in prison.

    • Stacy Green says:

      Me, too. If he truly has those, he needs to be treated by mental health professionals. And me, too. Even if the crime is as heinous as this, there has to be a reason for a child this young to act out. They’ve got to be a victim as well. And I’m the same. Very much mixed feelings. Thanks.

  4. Such a tragedy on all accounts. It sounds like there was a lot more going on behind the scene and so many unanswered questions that may always be that…unanswered. I am stunned that after a week, nobody noticed the smell but yes, maybe the waterbed covered the smell somehow?!?! I would have said the mother was deluding herself except the police seemed to have missed it as well….
    It sounds like Josh’s interview was unconstitutional and deserves revisiting. He does sound like he should have been put in an institution rather than prison….but either way, definitely off the streets….

    • Stacy Green says:

      Yes, it really is. Both mothers lost their children. I don’t know about the waterbed covering the smell. I suppose anything is possible. That’s the thing, if the police were there, they missed it, and any seasoned cop KNOWS that smell.


  5. Oh, my! I was reading your waterbed excerpt and cringing. Can you imagine? I hate to say this, but I will anyway – I think police railroad all the time. I’m not saying everything his mother said is true, because let’s be real – the dogs (both the family pet and the trained cadaver dog) didn’t notice the smell? I call bull on that. Regardless, he was a minor and I’m sure if he was in an abusive house he did panic. He did kill her too, nonetheless — but he admits it and is remorseful. A part of me think this kid (now man) may indeed deserve a new trial or parole hearing at least.

  6. tomwisk says:

    Two things: 1) If he is able to function in prision, keep him there. 2) Melissa should change her name tp Cleopatra. She’s the Queen of Denial as are most parents when their kids screw up.

    • Stacy Green says:

      LOL, Tom. I see what you’re saying, but from my research, it’s a fact the police were in the house with a cadaver dog prior to the discovery. That’s what really bothers me. Yes, he did it, but the system needs to work, too. Thanks.

  7. Catie Rhodes says:

    I’ve seen this case a few times on those true crime documentaries we cluck about via email. I felt so sorry for that little girl’s parents. Can you imagine how they felt? They trusted their little girl would be safe playing in her neighborhood, and she wasn’t. Though I’m not a parent, I think most parents’ top priority is to keep their kids safe from harm. I just can’t imagine the horror they must feel.

    If Josh did it and knows he did it, I suspect he is where he belongs. I’m sad for him because, from what I’ve been able to understand (from those TV documentaries), he was in an abusive home situation. If he is mentally ill or has some sort of brain damage, perhaps he needs to be in a criminal hospital. I am just at a loss on what should happen in a case like this.

    • Stacy Green says:

      I’d never seen it. Will have to keep an eye out. I can only imagine. I feel the same about Grace – I trust her in this neighborhood, trust her with friends, etc. Safest neighborhood in the world here, but it only takes one second.

      He’s probably where he belongs. But I’ve seen so many cases of minors being illegally questioned. I’ve heard about the abuse as well, and I do think he needs to be in the criminal hospital.

      It’s definitely a tough case, and I certainly don’t have the answers. Thanks:)

      • Catie Rhodes says:

        I wouldn’t doubt he was illegally questioned. Most regular people don’t know that you have to protect your own rights.

      • Stacy Green says:

        No, they don’t, and it’s infuriating how some police will bend the rules. I know sometimes they have to, but there are others who take it too far.

  8. If Josh beat a little girl to death—which it seems he did, I have to question whether he actually feels remorse. If he’s a psychopath, he can’t, right? In either case, such a tragedy! Little Maddie’s death and the stress of it all no doubt changed all who loved and knew her.

    • Stacy Green says:

      It’s really hard to say. He may be a psychopath and skilled at faking. I’ve not read where he’s been labeled as such, but it’s definitely a possibility. It’s just awful. I can’t even imagine her family’s pain.

  9. Losing a child must be the worst pain in the world. A kid disappearing from her own neighborhood so often seems to turn up a neighbor at fault. Doubly horrible when it turns out to be another kid. The brain lesions are something that should have been investigated further. It definitely could be revelent, don’t you think? And if he has something wrong with him that could cause him to do what he did, that should be taken into consideration and treated.

    • Stacy Green says:

      It is. I think about it every day. What would I do? My mother lost two sons when they were older, but it’s nearly destroyed her. Another kid scares me more than anything, because Grace would trust another one more than some stranger.

      Agree on the brain lesions and treatment. Seems as if this case was mishandled from the start.
      Thanks. BTW, have you been blogging? Don’t think I’ve seen updates in a while. Hope you’re well…

  10. It’s always shocking and scary when someone who is virtually a child themselves has enough rage or malice or lack of empathy to kill another child. This is a tough situation in terms of what happened legally. I believe that the rules are important and are there to protect innocent people from being falsely convinced. But in this case, the only way I could see him not being guilty is if his father did it and hid the body in his room (but then why would he confess to a crime he didn’t commit). If Josh is guilty, which seems to be the case, then it would be a travesty for him to get off on a technicality when he deserves to be punished for what he did.

    • Stacy Green says:

      Yes, child killers are especially horrendous. I can’t imagine what goes through their minds. No, I agree, I believe he’s guilty, too. It just bothers me that he wasn’t questioned properly, because those procedures are important.
      But you make a good point. Getting him off on a technicality would be wrong.

  11. Julie Glover says:

    If the police questioned him without parents or lawyers, and other evidence seems questionable, it’s tempting to want to parole him. But Josh’s mother isn’t the only mom here: A little girl was brutally beaten to death. Josh did it. He should stay in prison. However, I do believe that the mentally ill should receive adequate treatment while incarcerated, and that doesn’t always happen. I don’t know what avenues are available to force the police to behave better in the future, but it certainly seems that pressure should be applied.

    • Stacy Green says:

      Very good point. If I were Maggie’s mother, I’d be appalled at the idea of his being paroled. And if he did this at 14, what’s he capable of as an adult? It’s really hard to say. I agree on the mentally ill issue, and you’re right, those are missed way too much.

  12. Esmeralda Gutierrez says:

    After reading and watching all the documentaries I have too say I feel for maddies parents I couldn’t imagine loosing my baby that way. It’s been 14 years since Josh has been in prison. Two lives were lost that day. As humans sometimes our brain does not function correctly . I believe forgiveness is the best medicine that’s why god forgives. Maddie mother even said maybe someday he should be given the chance. He shows remorse and I can see it in his eyes. He remebers maddie with everyday that goes by. Every single person deserves a second chance he acted on impulse and I think he has been punished enough . Charles mason gets the possibility of parole and this 14 year old child at the time does not ?? Ridiculous. I believe in redemption and he should get a chance to prove to the world that he could become someone if god can forgive , why can’t anyone else.

    • Stacy Green says:

      Interesting that Maddie’s mother said he should be given the chance at parole. I’m not sure I would be so forgiving. I’m sure he does remember Maddie – sitting in a prison cell gives a person a lot of opportunity to think. You make a great point about Manson…it is pretty ridiculous that he at least gets to go before the parole board while Josh doesn’t. Our system needs a major overhaul in parts.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  13. annieboreson says:

    Wow…this one really grabbed me. I can’t imagine being in Melissa’s shoes. Your husband is dead…(which must seem to her as the easy way out of this mess.) There are just too many unanswered questions to this case. What a sad ordeal all are faced with.

    • Stacy Green says:

      I can’t either, Annie. We want to think the best of our kids, and she’s probably not looking at things from an unbiased perspective. Then again, how could she? Yes, so many unanswered questions, which is what makes it’s so compelling and frustrating.

  14. Karen Rought says:

    That section written by Josh’s mother gave me chills. Can you imagine that? Especially from a mother’s point of view. What a horrible thing to have to tell the police – that your son murdered the missing girl.

    I’m bothered by the fact that no one noticed the body previously, too. Do you think that means that he killed her elsewhere and then moved the body into his bedroom – maybe once the police started getting to close to where she had been buried previously?

    • Stacy Green says:

      No, I can’t. It would be like something out of a nightmare, and even though telling the police is the right thing, as a mother you’d feel like you were betraying him.

      Hmm. I hadn’t thought of that, but it’s hard to imagine none of the searchers would have noticed. Plus, I believe Josh always maintained he killed her in the bedroom. For me, that’s the biggest mystery, that both his family and the police didn’t notice the odor.

      Thanks, Karen.

  15. Joshua's ex step father says:

    As the ex step father of Phillips, I can categorically confirm that he never showed an remorse for the murder of Maddie Clifton. He is more worried for himself. He’s manipulative and cunning. His brother who lives in Pennsylvania is mentally challenged and his deceased father was a rapist and a bully. Melissa, Joshua’s mother is in denial and is desperate for her son to get a second chance. Sadly, Maddie will never get that chance. Incidently, Joshua’s father committed suicide in a truck a few miles away from the prison Joshua was held at. He was drunk (as usual) and it would seem, he couldn’t handle the situation. I know this as Joshua’s mother recounted these facts. I feel so sorry for the Clifton family and regret ever meeting this dysfunctional family.

    • Stacy Green says:

      Thanks for commenting. I had heard a few things about his father, but I wasn’t able to confirm anything so I didn’t put anything in about. I had read about the father, but it was his mother’s website, and I don’t remember her calling it a suicide. Then again, if she is indeed in denial, her leaving that out would make sense.

      Thanks for giving us the other side of the story.

      • Hayley Holliwell says:

        I read that Joshua had sadistic porn found in his room? Whether that is true or not it is still a contributing factor right? He obviously has some kind of brain disjunction yet still the fact of the matter is he murdered Maddie. Most 14 year olds know right from wrong and Joshua obviously didn’t when it came to that horrific act on that poor girl. If I at 14 had accidentally hit someone with a bat (parents nasty or not) I would have told them and get into trouble rather than KILL that person and hide them under my bed. D’oh the boy is mentally ill and should remain in custody for he took another..minor or not! Like most disabilities there is no cure and he is not fit for society and could possibly do it again.

      • Stacy Green says:

        I hadn’t read that, but it might be. If it was truly sadistic, it would definitely be an warning sign that he had issues. It’s been reported that Josh was very afraid of his father and that was the reason he killed Mattie. If he was truly abused, that would affect his decision making. And I agree, he should remain in prison, because something is very wrong. Thanks for stopping by.

  16. Angie Sudberry says:

    It seems that most of these children that kill all have something in common, they all have been abused in some form by a parent or person of trust. My heart aches for these children and the ones who’s lives have been cut short. My motherly instinct says to give him another chance at life. If you watch the you-tube video of him during a interview his expressions and words say it all. He made the biggest mistake of his life! As far as his mother goes She seems a little disconnected. Where there signs from Joshua that something was bothering him for that week that her body was under his bed? As a mother of a teenage son when my son is up to no good I know it and I find out and don’t quit till I do! I have to say during the video his tears and emotions are what told me he is so sorry and if he could take it back and give her life he would. He even said I don’t know or think I deserve a second chance but I would like one! Give him a second chance!

    • Stacy Green says:

      Yes, it really does seem that way. I know there are a few cases out there where there is no nurture involved, but Josh definitely had some serious issues at home.

      I don’t know about the signs from Josh that something had happened. I’m still baffled at how no one noticed a body for a week.

      As a mom, I do get what you’re saying. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  17. Maria says:

    Hi Stacey, Do you know something about his appeals so far?.. is Josh going to have a new, fair trial some day? Thanks 🙂

  18. This is an interesting post. I was in Jacksonville when the crime occurred. I had been a police reporter a decade earlier so I knew some of the cops still working. All I know about this case is what I read in the papers, except for one link to the case that most people didn’t have – an outside observer who knew the family of the victim. I can’t contest the details the mother puts forward and may all be true. I know it was like something out of the grisliest horror novel you can imagine when the cops revealed a little girl’s body had been hidden in the bedroom of the young man accused of killing her. And again, I’m only going from memory, but I thought it was the mother of the young man who eventually discovered or was suspicious and her suspicions led to the arrest of the boy.

    In any case, it is possible the cops trampled on his legal rights. And I can understand some people’s outrage about that. But I think a hell of a lot more people would have been outraged if a little girl had been bludgeoned to death and her confessed killer had walked free because the cops didn’t follow the rules. It was this kind of obsession with the ‘process’ of safeguarding criminal’s rights that caused the revulsion and -get tough on crime- movements of the 80s and 90s. Should you be able to murder someone and get away with it becuase the other side in the ‘game’ of law enforcement didn’t play the game well enough? I suspect a lot of people that champion the process would feel differently if it had been their daughter stuffed in a chest.

    As far as I know, there never was a lot of question as to whether boy arrested had actually committed the crime. No one that I’m familiar with ever made a serious claim that somebody else killed the girl. I know that some people would argue the defendant was a child, but seriously, he was 14 or 15. You can make that argument when you’re talking about one 9 or 10 year old accidentally killing another child. But a teenager that old? Hard to sell. Technically I know your brain is not fully formed until 19 ort 20 or later. I was a high school teacher so I’m familiar with the theories of brain development. But again, I doubt any jury would have accepted that.

    It is a tragedy in that if the boy was telling the truth, and had immediately told his mother what had happened, the odds were very good he’d have been treated as a juvenile who panicked and accidentally or inadvertently killed someone, identity withheld, and he’d have been in the system a few years and gotten out. A lot of cases are handled that way. But he didnt’ and the grotesque nature of the way the body was hidden and revealed poisoned any chance of the case being handled that way. People were incensed and frightened and the State Attorney in Jacksonville is elected. Try being re-elected after you let the defendant walk in this case.

    Anyway, just found your blog and as I said, these are fascinating postings.

    daniel quentin steele

  19. Monae says:

    Yes I have been studying josh case on my own since I saw him on too young to kill an I have read letters Bc out off all the murders I have seen interviewed they all showed no emotion like josh I believe his mom and being ass Thoe his I frontal lube test came bck it shows he had no idea Wht he was really doing.

  20. one worried mama says:

    i have study this case for a few years now and once reached out to josh i can say for a fact he is an *ss he has spent far to long in prison to be saved im sorry to say he is a danger if he were to get out he has real problems!! i grew up in allentown so when this happened it was a big deal b/c he was a “local”. i know of another case where one child learn of josh and tryed to do what josh did only the mother saved her child she also tryed to help josh b/c she felt bad and he was down rite rude to her and her child took a bad to the head b/c of him children do no belong in prison if a child kills they NEED HELP not prison but once they sit there so long we cant save them theres no question in my mind if he would have gotten help in 98 it would be i different out come but now he needs to be getting help and stay where he is bc trust me its an act hes only sorry bc he wants out Mrs dumfee(josh’s moms re-married name) needs to give up im sorry to say its so sad bc maddies family will never get to say i love you or hug her again.

  21. Joy says:

    Having lived in Jacksonville back then I can attest that those 7 days Maddie was missing made up the longest week ever! I remember the posters lining the streets like I saw them yesterday. Melissa has lost her son because her son stalked the family (specifically Maddies older sister) and brutally killed a little girl with grotesque similarity to the porn he watched in his room that his parents rarely entered. For those of you wondering how the smell went undetected, he had two birds in his alteady filthy bedroom. The police were led to believe (by Joshs parents) that the smell was from the birds and dog! Melissa, I’m sorry you can’t print your precious book and make money off of the death of an 8-yr old girl, but the law won’t allow your family to victimize the Clifton’s yet again!

  22. Rachael prazeres says:

    Maybe she didnt die straight away.. Her body may not have been decomposing for as long as thought.
    He killed an inncocent child, he deserves to be punished BUT he himself was a child non the less and their minds do not work the same way as an adult , there reasonings are not as thought out, whilst ever he may have had an understanding for consiquience OBVIOUSLY
    His understanding of it didnt go beyond simply getting into trouble via his own father.

    Clearly he wasn’t given a fair trial based on everything iv read…
    The world had come a long way in over ten years and I think he deserves a new trial..

    if the victims mother agrees then how can’t a court of law.. Based on facts, he deserves one.

  23. Gracie says:

    Murder is still murder, despite the age of the attacker. And in the case of Josh Phillips, it was a brutal murder. Whatever the age, it is only fair and right to be trialed for the case itself and not the age (child/adult.) Age should not matter. I have read many cases of 12/14 year old boys raping and brutally murdering younger girls. However because they were tried as a ‘child,’ they only got 6 years imprisonment when if a man at age 25 for example committed the same crime would get 50 years or possible life sentences depending on the nature of the crime. I think it is disgusting for murderous children (whether they know its wrong or not) to get barley any sentence behind bars. It is an adult crime and any child who commits such crimes, should be tried as an adult.
    People should be tried for the crimes they commit, as that is why there is laws for it. NOT their age and being lenient with it.
    Perhaps it wasn’t right for the kid to get a life sentence with any appeals, but none the less, the child deserved to get an ‘adult’ sentence behind bars. Many people on here are saying its very un-constitutional for the Florida law system to be giving him a life sentence with out appeal and hes ‘only a child.’ Well its VERY un-constitutional for one to commit a brutal murder against an innocent child, no matter what they’re age is. Perhaps the child should be in a mental institute instead of jail, however i do not feel sorry for someone to cause such a heinous act of murder. Before the murder took place, Police found that he had looked up violent porn on the computer. What kind of child would do this? He hit her with a baseball bat, attempted to strangle her with a phone line, stabbed her 9 times (with his pocket knife) in the body (when she made too much noise, he panicked) and then 2 times in the neck. An autopsy revealed she was still alive when was stuffed into his waterbed, but shortly died after. Even if he did have a mental illness (his was impaired judgement, and panics quickly in situations), this still meant he couldn’t handle a situation and instead killed someone to shut them up and after did ‘not understand what had happened.’ Why would you let someone like this back on the streets? Who could result in violence so quickly when in a panicked situation. Imagine what he could do in future if he got let out. He was a ‘normal’ kid and no one knew what was coming, so how would we know if he’d do it again in future or not? There is no guarantee and (a huge percentage) most people sent to jail for murders and get released always commit murder or other crimes again. I do not feel sorry for this boy in any case and he i believe it was right to be trialed as an adult as he did a brutal act of murder.

  24. Gracie says:

    I have read all the articles on this trial and yes joshuas mother DID find the body in the waterbed hidden, perhaps it manage to hide the smell who knows. she reported it to the police to where the police received the body and autopsy was done. for other people to ‘judge’ this story, the writer should have included the full story. Maddie had markings of attempted strangulation with a phone wire, stabbed 9 times in the chest and twice in the neck. Autopsy stated she died after this once put into the water bed. Joshua having a problem of ‘impaired judgement’ not meaning a blurred line of morality between right and wrong. There is physical evidence and a confession of Joshua saying he committed the crime, yet did not really know why. He deserves to be in Jail, child or not, its about the crime and not the age. The judge at the hearing stated he should be tried as an adult due to him committing adult crimes, and that he should have a millstone hung by his neck so he could sink in the sea for one to cause such harm and brutality to a innocent child.

  25. Gracie says:

    Another example of a 14 year old boy murdering. He received life sentences and was tried as a adult.

    On February 2, 1996, the Frontier Middle School was devastated by a hostage-taking incident and shooting spree that occurred in an algebra class. It took the lives of three people (two students and a teacher) and resulted in the critical injury of one student. The person accused was a 14-year-old boy named Barry Dale Loukaitis, who was experiencing delusional and messianic thoughts before the shooting. Barry was dressed to look like a gunslinger from the Wild West in a black duster, and armed with a .30-30 caliber rifle, a .357 caliber pistol and a .25 caliber pistol that belonged to his father. The students were held hostage for 10 minutes before a gym coach tricked and outwitted the boy.It was believed that, aside from a history of mental illness and dysfunctional issues in his family, Barry was influenced by Pearl Jam’s song and video “Jeremy.” The video shows a troubled youth committing suicide in front of his classmates and teacher. It was also reported that he said “This sure beats algebra, doesn’t it?” when he saw his classmates panic. This is a quote from a Stephen King novel, Rage, in which the protagonist kills two teachers and takes his algebra class hostage. Barry is currently serving two life sentences, with an additional 205 years in prison.

  26. Rachael prazeres says:

    Please copy and paste to your search engine and sign my petition to help josh in his fight for freedom because everybody deserves a second chance.
    Please feel free to Share on Facebook or other social media… Thank you..

  27. Amy says:

    that boy knew wxactly what he was doing to Maddie. he could of stopped and just told his parents it was all a big mistake but he continued on and killed an innocent 8 year old girl.
    she doesn’t get to have a family or granchildren or even a husband, nothing. that boy took her life away so i believe he deserves his life taken from him!!

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