Matthew Bentley was 14 years old in 1997 when he broke into a house he thought was unoccupied, and rummaging for valuables found a couple of guns. The owner of the house, Betty Bardell, surprised him and threatened to call the police. Matthew pointed one of the guns at her and shot.
Barbara Hernandez was born on March 16, 1974 and left home at the age of 14 as a result of ongoing physical and sexual abuse first from her father and then from her stepfather. She moved in with a boyfriend four years her senior. In 1990 when Barbara was sixteen, her boyfriend coerced her into helping him steal a car as part of a plan to leave the state. When Barbara brought a man with a car to the house, her boyfriend attacked and killed the victim while Barbara was in another room. Despite Barbara's age, lack of a prior record and questionable culpability, the prosecutor filed a complaint in the adult criminal system. Following her conviction, a judge determined that Barbara should be sentenced as an adult.
Kevin was born on September 26, 1977 into a chaotic home environment. He suffered significant emotional and physical abuse from both his parents, who divorced when he was eleven but continued to use him as a pawn in their often-violent disputes. Kevin, along with his mother, was convicted of the murder of his father on August 6,1994 . Kevin denies killing his father but admits giving keys to his father's apartment to his mother and her lover, Julie, knowing they intended to kill him. Kevin was found guilty of murder and is currently at the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility.
Jennifer was charged with first degree (felony) murder in 1992. At age 15 Jenny ran away from an abusive home and stayed with an older female co-defendant (Donnell Mirach, 23). Together they then robbed an elderly neighbor, and Miracle stabbed him 27 times. Jennifer was convicted of aiding and abetting, and received life without parole. During her incarceration she was repeatedly raped by the prison gaurds, and was one in a group of women who filed a lawsuit through Deb Labelle, against the state on sexual abuse charges.
In 1989, at age 15, Efren Paredes, Jr. was convicted for a murder and armed robbery. The crime took place in St. Joseph, Michigan, at a local store where Efren was working at the time as a bagger. According to Efren and his family, on the night of the crime, at about 9:30pm, after completing his work at the store, he was brought home by the store’s manager. A short time later the store was robbed and the manager was murdered. The case against Efren was based primarily on the statements of other youths who received reduced charges and sentences in exchange for their testimony. Efren’s mother’s testimony, as well as that of his young brothers, who all claim that they had witnessed his return home before the murder was committed, was discarded. Efren was sentenced to two life without parole sentences and one parolable life sentence. He is currently 41 years-old.