MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis teenager has been placed with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services for long-term treatment until he is 19 after admitting he shot and killed his sister.
“It will be, what’s called, a youth development center. The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services has three of those. That is the effect of the determinate sentence to age 19, that he will be placed in a residential facility,” prosecutor Terre Fratesi said.
During sentencing Monday morning, a psychologist testified the teen has a low IQ and frequently missed school.
Drama Compton was 13 at the time of the shooting last April, and recently pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in juvenile court. The judge said Drama needs help, and thinks rehabilitating him could take a very long time.
The 14-year-old admitted to shooting his 10-year-old sister in the face after she dared him to pull the trigger.
Police say he initially told them his sister hurt herself with a screwdriver. The teen admitted to altering the scene before calling police to make his sister’s death look like an accident.
The shooting happened at a time of day when both children should have been in school, and the prosecution put part of the blame on his parents.
The family is no stranger to the juvenile justice system, and prosecutors argued it would be nearly impossible for him to get the help he needs at home. The defense asked for an indefinite sentence, where Drama would have the opportunity to be released early.
“The family had a troubling history, not just with Drama Compton, but with other siblings,” Fratesi said. “That was something that we had to take into consideration.”
The psychologist also testified the teen’s mother has depression and paranoid schizophrenia. According to the psychologist, the teen needs in-home treatment in a ‘highly-structured’ environment.
The defense also mentioned how violent video games are impacting youth. Executive Director for Juvenile Intervention and Faith-based Follow-up Richard Graham agrees, saying violent games can have lasting negative impacts.
“We’re raising a whole culture of kids, youth, in violence and rage,” he said. “We’re now seeing the fruits of that.”
Graham said while JIFF would not handle a case as extreme as Drama’s, almost every child can be rehabilitated through mentoring and stability.
Fratesi believes Drama’s best chance at turning his life around, is getting him out of his parent’s home and said, while there is no happy ending to this case, at least for Drama’s sister there is justice.
“We can never bring her back, but this is the most that we could achieve within the juvenile justice system, and yes. I do feel like justice was done.”
According to his mother the teen, who was 13 when the shooting happened last April, retrieved one of two guns she had thrown away.
There are still a 15-year-old and a 5-year-old in the teen’s home. The mother reportedly denied grief counseling for the family.
No adults are charged in relation to this case.