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Sherman Burkett - Missouri's Youngest Adult Inmate

He was 13, she was six, and they were neighbors in the Saint Louis County Spanish Lake Neighborhood they lived in. Something happened November 11, 2005 that changed both their lives forever. That night Sherman Burkett kidnapped his six-year-old neighbor from in front of her home. Taking her to the railroad tracks where he physically beat her and sodomized her.

Burkett then left her for dead. Went home and later assisted in the search for his little neighbor friend. During the initial investigation and search, it became obvious that Burkett was the terror of the neighborhood. A neighbor informed police other families had moved away because of Burkett’s bullying actions.

Burkett stomped, punched, kicked, choked, sodomized and attempted to rape the six year old but was unsuccessful. She was missing close to 12 hours when early the next morning a police officer found the girl inside a fence covered in leaves clinging to life.

Rushed to the hospital doctors were amazed she had survived her injuries were so severe. Her injuries included a lacerated liver, a skull fracture, bruises from head to thighs and one ear partially detached. Later the amazingly strong little survivor would tell officers she had tried to crawl home but just could not make it past the hole in the fence. Therefore, she had covered herself up with leaves to keep warm and fell asleep.

The little girl quickly identified her attacker form a school year book picture while recuperating in the Saint Louis Children’s Hospital. Police retrieved a warrant for the arrest of Sherman Burkett, who was booked into the Saint Louis County Justice Center in Clayton Missouri. Sherman Burkett, at age 13, was booked as the youngest inmate into the adult facility, and the courts will try him as an adult.

Friday in court, Sherman Burkett pleaded guilty to kidnapping, and sexually assaulting his six-year-old child neighborhood friend. Sherman Burkett is now 15 and he plead guilty to four different felonies, all of which could carry a life sentence for each felony charge. Sentencing is in October. At that time, we will know for sure what will happen to the 15-year-old boy who committed the crimes of a lifetime at age 13.

How does anyone have that kind of anger at such an early age? When people see such a mean child in a neighborhood that it causes families to move away does it not make one stop and wonder, what the hell happened to Sherman that mad him such an angry young black man? The system has failed not one child but two. Where are Sherman’s parents during this entire legal process? Where were they when he was running families out of the neighborhood?


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