This is an article from Miller-McClune Magazine by Jack Levin called The Invisible Hate Crime which is basically about how violent crimes that target the handicapped are hate crimes and do not receive the attention they deserve from media or law enforcement.
For the most part Mr. Levin is dead on however there is one part of the article that I vehemently disagree with and it’s about John Odgren who stabbed and killed James Alenson at random in the bathroom of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School.
Here’s what Mr. Levin had to say about Odgren…
On Jan. 19, 2007, John Odgren stabbed to death his 15-year-old schoolmate — a random victim — in a restroom at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School in Massachusetts. The 16-year-old killer had been diagnosed, early on, with major depression, Asperger’s Syndrome,attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Because of his disabilities, Odgren had a long history of having been bullied and having sought to retaliate violently. In third grade, he threatened to shoot some girls who had harassed him. In fourth grade, he jabbed a pencil into another student’s chest. He was bullied repeatedly as he bounced from school to school and finally got even with his mainstreamed peers by killing an innocent victim. For taking the life of his schoolmate, Odgren was tried, convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole eligibility.
What Mr. Levin fails to note that Odgren not only had an obsession with knives and allowed by his parents to stockpile a large knife collection, Odgren also planned out his crime meticulously and often bragged to people about how he could pull off the perfect crime. also I don’t see how Mr. Levin can call this a tit-for-tat crime since James Alenson not only didn’t know Odgren but I believe that James Alenson was probably a victim of bullying himself.
Mr.; Levin does a disservice to people who truly have Asperger’s as they do know right from wrong and anybody who does should know that stabbing and killing a random victim after planning it for months is definitely wrong.
Principal says ‘extra step’ not taken before stabbing:
Yesterday the principal of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School and the superintendent said at a school board meeting that the school psychologist who confiscated a knife from John Odgren then gave it back at the end of the day should have reported it to authorities. You don’t say.
John M. Ritchie told the school board in a meeting last night that he didn’t think that there was “flagrant neglect, disregard for the welfare of the school, or irresponsible ignoring of school policy.”
Still, he said, “Some additional effort had to be made that wasn’t made to determine whether this was a pattern, to call it to someone’s attention, to determine whether it was completely innocent.”
“That was where people did not execute reasonable expectation on my part,” Ritchie said. “I think that in a school setting with safety being of paramount concern to us, an extra step had to be taken.”
Ritchie did not single out any school staff, and he declined to say whether disciplinary action would be taken, citing confidentiality.
If that school employee doesn’t lose his or her job then there’s seriously something wrong with that school system.
Doc: Teen stab suspect competent to stand trial:
John Odgren, the 15-year-old suspect in the fatal Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School stabbing of James Alenson, was ruled competent to stand trial yesterday. A psychiatrist informed the court that Odgren is competent and no longer needs to be housed in a psychiatric facility. Odgren swore at the judge when he was told that he was going back to juvenile lockup.
“(Expletive) it,” Odgren said. “(If you) send me back to Plymouth, I’m not coming back.”
Odgren’s attorney, Jonathan Shapiro, argued that Odgren’s Asperger’s puts him at risk in lock up.
Shapiro argued Odgren’s Asperger’s syndrome puts him at risk in jail because he makes ‘inappropriate comments’ to other boys. “Frankly, it’s dangerous,” Shapiro said.
Shapiro also states that Odgren is at risk for suicide and that he has, get this, amnesia of the whole stabbing incident. Isn’t that convenient? So you’re going to tell me that someone who was joking with police and offered to assist the crime scene investigators all of a sudden has amnesia of the entire event. Amnesia, it’s not just for soap operas and cartoons anymore.
Shapiro argued that Odgren should still be kept at the mental facility but the judge put a quick stop to that.
Judge Isaac Borenstein responded and said, “The very same doctor you quote said he does not need to be in the hospital.”
Well since Odgren allegedly has amnesia then he won’t remember where he is.
What a drama queen.
Prosecutor outlines L-S murder suspect John Odgren’s history of violence:
I’m linking this article because it has an interesting PDF file. It’s entitled “The Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. John Odgren”. I found it compelling and hard to put down. Let me give you the highlights for those of you who aren’t PDF enabled.
- Odgren had January 19th, the day of the murder, marked on his calendar.
- He was accepted by other students and there was no evidence of bullying.
- He took particular joy in the blood splatter experiments in his forensic class.
- Odgren threatened a student with a screwdriver.
- He chased another student with a sharpened object which according to the article was a shard of glass.
- The knife used to murder James Alenson was a 13 inch kitchen carving knife.
- When Police Crime Scene Services arrived he excitedly offered to help them.
- He made jokes with police and investigators.
- He said that he didn’t even know the kid’s name (Alenson).
If I didn’t know any better, and I do, I’d swear this was a premeditated murder on a random victim.
I don’t care if Odgren was in a wheelchair stricken with polio after his puppy died. He’s obviously in need of a lengthy stay behind bars. And as in lengthy I mean forever.
Lincoln-Sudbury student pleads not guilty in slaying:
John Odgren pleaded not guilty today in the stabbing death of James Alenson. So let me get this straight. He stabs James Alenson to death, basically confesses to the crime to police at the scene, then pleads not guilty. Just once I want someone to plead guilty. Why has he plead not guilty? I sense someone laying the grounds for an insanity defense…
Odgren, a 16-year-old sophomore from Princeton, looked puzzled during the proceeding as his attorney, Jonathan Shapiro, asked the judge to transfer his client from jail to Westborough State Hospital so he could receive medication and psychiatric treatment. Odgren’s condition has deteriorated, Shapiro said, and he has been on suicide watch for the last four or five days.
Judge Isaac Borenstein ordered that Odgren be sent to Westborough State for observation for 20 days.
Call me a cold-hearted bastard if you want but I’m not buying it. I think Odgren and his lawyer are trying to use his Asperger’s to their advantage. I would lay odds that during the trial they’re going to make it seem like that all Asperger’s patients are all just time bombs ready to go off and kill someone at any given moment.
Let’s not forget what Odgren did either…
Middlesex Assistant District Attorney Daniel Bennett said that Odgren slashed Alenson’s throat before plunging a 5.5-inch knife through his ribs and then into his though the stomach. A third student was in a bathroom stall and heard Alenson say, “What are you doing, you are hurting me,” Bennett said.
That doesn’t sound like someone who “just snapped” to me. That sounds more like a stone cold killer.
Report: Stabbing suspect took knife to school without punishment:
It seems that accused killer John Odgren had previously brought a knife to school without any kind of punishment. Apparently he brought the knife to school and supposedly presented it to a school psychologist at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School last September. He asked the psychologist what would happen if he brought something to school that he shouldn’t have then showed the psychologist the knife. He says he brought the knife to school by accident. How do you bring a knife to school by accident? Anyway, what makes matters worse is that the psychologist confiscated the knife and then gave it back to Odgren at the end of the day. The psychologist only told his supervisor but did not tell the principal or police. It’s also unknown if the psychologist was employed by the school district or some other agency. Considering that Odgren ended up stabbing James Alenson to death I’d say there was an error in judgment on the part of the psychologist to put it politely. To put it impolitely the psychologist is an idiot and should have his license to practice taken away.
Personally I think Odgren was testing the waters so to speak to see what he could get away with. If the knife was taken away for good that would have been no big deal since Odgren had an extensive knife collection. It just would have been one out of many. I think this shows that Odgren may have been planning the murder for a while. Remember, Odgren was always talking about how he would get away with a murder. I don’t think James Alenson was his intended target from the beginning. Personally I don’t think Odgren had a specific target in mind at all. I think James Alenson was just in the wrong place at the wrong time when Odgren decided fulfill his murderous fantasies.
Student with Asperger Syndrome Charged in Murder:
This is a piece from NPR about how much a part Asperger’s Syndrome is playing in the murder of James Alenson by Asperger’s patient John Odgren. What I found interesting about this piece is that some parents of Asperger’s kids are horrified that Odgren’s defense attorney is using Asperger’s as a defense. It’s a very good listen.
ToF to Dr. Feste for the link.
Judge denies request for access to Odgren search warrants:
Luckily a judge has wisely decided that the search warrants used in the investigation of Lincoln-Sudbury stabbing suspect John Odgren will not be made public.
Judge Paul Healy Jr. said in a ruling that releasing the information to the public would not be fair to the investigation or suspect John Odgren, 16, of Princeton.
“At this time, it is believed that a blanket impoundment order is necessary to protect the rights of both the defendant and the Commonwealth and that there is no reasonable alternative,” Healy wrote in the two page decision.
Thank God this exercise in media self-righteousness was put down quickly.
School transfer of accused teen eyed:
This is an article that chronicles the school history of Lincoln-Sudbury High stabbing suspect John Odgren. According to the article he attended 5 schools in five years which also according to the article is not very conducive to an Asperger’s patient.
Psychiatrists say children with Asperger’s often struggle with school transitions, and a move to a large public school with 1,600 students would not be easy. Youngsters with Asperger’s typically have poor social skills.
“It’s difficult for these people to accept changes,” said Mohammad Ghaziuddin, a child psychiatrist at the University of Michigan and a specialist in Asperger’s. “They are used to having their own schedule, their own routines. It’s their desire for sameness.”
At this point it’s unknown why all those transfers took place. One of the schools said that anyone that has a tendency towards violence would not be allowed to remain there. Lincoln-Sudbury schools are also saying that records provided to them were missing documents that should have contained information regarding Odgren’s past “explosive episodes”.
Was he shuffled from school to school because of his behavior? Or could it have been parental impatience? Were they possibly not satisfied with the pace he was progressing and held the schools responsible? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Judge to rule Monday on search warrants:
In arguing whether or not the search warrants used to investigate the murder of James Alreson by John Odgren should be made public Assistant District Attorney Daniel Bennett had the following to say…
“We’re attempting to gather evidence worldwide,” said assistant district attorney Daniel Bennett. If information about what was found when the four search warrants were executed is made public, “The information we’re seeking could be altered. It could be destroyed. The search of evidence is both worldwide and goes back 16 years.”
Even though my curiosity levels are through the roof at this point there’s no real reason why the warrants should be made public until the investigation and trial are over.
The judge is set to decide on Monday.