Nathaniel Abraham was eleven years old when he committed the act of murder. Under a 1997 Michigan law a child of any age may be tried as an adult for severe crimes. Abraham was the first juvenile to be tried under this statute. Accused in the murder of Ronnie Lee Greene Jr., Abraham faced first degree murder charges. Now, at the age of fourteen, Nathaniel has been sentenced to a juvenile facility until the age of twenty-one. Oakland County Probate Judge Eugene Moore hopes that rehabilitation will put an end to Nathaniel’s criminal activity.
Nathaniel, a black youth from the slums of Pontiac, Michigan, grew up with out a father, or a strong family unit. He, in turn, never learned the responsibility of his actions; he was not privy to an upbringing that reinforced positive ideals. Crime & Criminology describes, in depth, the relation between family and criminal activity in youths. Page 126 (chapter four) sited two relevant facts; 1) Blacks have much higher rates of illegitimacy and female headed house holds. 2) Blacks have a much higher rate of crime than their white counterparts. In Nathaniel’s case, it can be said that his lack of a positive role model, or father figure lead to his involvement in criminal activities. His mother, Gloria, was struggling to raise three children by herself. Nathaniel’s father had left when he was born, leaving her with no one to depend on. The family moved in with an older couple who offered to help them. With limited supervision Nathaniel was a constant source of aggravation for his mother. Police reported that Nathaniel was suspected in over 22 local crimes, ranging from assault to armed robbery. He, in fact, had been arrested five days before Greene’s murder on the charge of robbery. All this by the age of eleven. In families where there is no male role model a child is far more likely to become involved in crime. The data that exists suggests a direct correlation between youths raised without a father and criminal activity.
In conclusion, Nathaniel is a byproduct of the decaying system of family values in the black community. A child who has never known responsibility or consequence will surely know no adherence to social and criminal guidelines. Without the benefit of a role model, specifically a father, a child is at a much greater risk to become a juvenile crime statistic.
Satistical data from Crime & Criminology, second edition, Harpers Press.