An 11-year-old boy from Tennessee has been convicted after he was found guilty of shooting an 8-year-old girl named McKayla Dyer to death following an argument. The boy, who has been identified as Benny Nicolas Tiller, was convicted by judge Dennis “Will” Roach II from the Jefferson County Juvenile court. Tiller has been sentenced to state custody until he is 19-years-old, a CBS News report said.
The incident that ended up in the conviction of the 11-year-old boy dates back to October 3, 2015 when the boy shot McKayla Dyer in front of her elder sister Kattie Dyer and another 11-year-old girl. The two were allegedly arguing after McKayla refused to show the boy her pet puppies.
— Shelby Miller (@SMillerWATE) October 5, 2015
All the children were residents of the mobile home park located in White Pine, Tennessee. According to reports, Benny was inside his mobile home on the day of the incident. He was talking to the three girls who were standing outside one of the windows of the mobile home when the argument erupted. The argument started after McKayla refused to show him her puppy, after which Benny got his father’s gun and aimed at her. According to court documents, McKayla reportedly laughed at Benny and told him that the gun wasn’t real. An enraged Benny however made sure that the gun was real, loaded the weapon and shot at her a few seconds later. McKayla was seen by three other witnesses within a minute of her being shot.
Describing the incident, the judge wrote the following.
“After being shot, McKayla girl fell backward, quickly lost consciousness, and was later confirmed dead.”
Shortly after being shot, McKayla’s mother was on the scene.
“The mother of the child knelt on the ground and picked her up, placing her child in her arms as she passed away.”
Benny had, in the meantime, tossed the gun and another pellet pistol from the bedroom window and closed it. Both of the boy’s parents were inside the mobile home at the time of the incident. In fact, according to reports, they did not come out of the mobile home till officials from Jefferson County Sheriff’s office arrived at the scene. McKayla was taken to the Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System hospital where she was pronounced dead.
— Shelby Miller (@SMillerWATE) October 6, 2015
Following the killing of McKayla, the other siblings of the boy (three brothers and two sisters) have all been placed with the state and are currently living with their relatives. This was confirmed by Tennessee Department of Children’s Services spokesman Rob Johnson. Johnson also added that authorities are currently evaluating where Benny should be placed.
Meanwhile, Judge Roach in his order wrote the following.
“A child who commits first-degree murder cannot be willy-nilly turned loose into society. Like any other child who comes into custody, he would need a thorough assessment and evaluation to determine the best placement. Johnson added, “At this time, it would likely be at an intensive treatment program at one of our private providers.”
His order also directed the state to use resources to determine why Benny shot the girl, and ensure that such an incident never happens again.
According to the judge, Benny was trained in firearm safety and had hunted with his father and grandfather in the past. He was well aware of the dangers of using a loaded gun and still went ahead with his decision to fire at McKayla.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Dunn, district attorney general for the Fourth Judicial District confirmed that even with Benny’s conviction, authorities do not consider the case “closed” and would review if charges are to be pressed against any other person who was indirectly responsible for the shooting. It remains unclear if Benny’s parents are under the purview of the review.
[Image Credit: The gun in the hands of child (Free photobank www.tOrange.us)/CC BY 4.0]