In Paintsville, a small eastern coal-mining town in Kentucky, Carl Newton Mahan became the youngest person ever tried for murder.
On May 18, 1929 Carl, age 6 and his friend Cecil Van Hoose, age 8, found a scrap of iron that they planned to sell to a junk dealer for a little extra money. Cecil took the scrap from Carl and hit him in the face with it. Carl got his revenge by running home and grabbing his father’s 12 gauge shotgun. He ran back to Cecil, pointed the gun at him and yelled “I’m going to shoot you!” And he did, killing the boy.
He was tried for murder, and got up on the stand to tell the court what happened. For the rest of the day long trial he sometimes laid and slept on the defense table. After 30 minutes of deliberation, the jury decided that manslaughter was more fitting in this case. Carl was sentenced to 15 years at a reform school and released to his parents on $500 bail.
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