His entire life

Christopher Cobb, 14, died Tuesday. A victim of delayed homicide.

Fourteen years ago Christopher was left in the care of his mother’s boyfriend. When he cried, he was hit in the head several times by Cornelius Fletcher, then he was picked up and thrown into his crib so hard that he bounced out and landed on the floor. He suffered from the syndrome known as shaken baby syndrome, a cause of brain and spinal cord injuries. After 14 years, he has died of those injuries.

Fletcher was convicted of child abuse in 1992, and was given 10 years with 5 of those years suspended. He served 2 1/2 years. He will not be prosecuted further for the death due to a quirk in Maryland’s law, which until 1996 stated that the state can only bring murder charges if the death occurred within a year and a day of the attack. This law has since been changed, but still applies to cases that occurred before 1996.


Rest in peace Christopher. You deserved so much more.

Without the benefit of an adult

If you are female, remember being 14 years old? Very into peers esp. boys, impressionable, sometimes guillible, often rebellious, sometimes hormonal, and even at times a bit hysterical? And always a bit dramatic?

I really debated about writing about this case. Not because the subject is too difficult. It is, hard but I’ve written about worse. Not because I have any objection about writing about kids who commit crimes.

I guess the main reason I hesitated, is because I remember being a 14 year old girl.

Brittany Norris has been arrested for the murder of her mother Regina Norris and her mother’s boyfriend Lawrence Norris (no relation to each other, even though the last names were the same). The only articles I have been able to find are announcements of her arrest.

I haven’t found any description as to how their bodies came to be found by police or who was present at the time. I haven’t seen anything about the crime scene other than the fact that both victims were killed with a single gunshot to the head. I haven’t seen any indications of a motive or a criminal history for Brittany. As a matter of fact, she is said to be an honors student with no criminal record.

And while normally what defense attorneys say aren’t one of my immediate concerns, this one did say something that got my attention:

Attorney Gerald Schwab Jr. said Brittany Norris was held for hours and questioned without having an attorney or family member present“They badgered her and manipulated her into making a statement,” attorney Gerald Schwab Jr. said, describing his client as a well-behaved honor student reeling from the death of her mother. “She’s terrified and in shock, and now they’re saying she’s confessed.”


As I said, I haven’t seen anything about what police found when they got to the crime scene. But they are saying that she confessed. Still, at 14 if I had been faced with the murder of my mother, likely I would have been easily led to say about anything. It always makes me uncomfortable when I hear that kids are questioned without the benefit of the advice of a parent, guardian, or attorney. After all, under the law this child is not deemed capable of making the decisions necessary to live on her own, to sign a contract, to marry, or to vote or to get a driver’s license. And that is under normal conditions. Yet, for some reason it is ok for her to cooperate in a murder investigation on the same day of her mother’s death- without even the benefit of an adult presence.

Maybe she did commit the murders. But I would have felt a lot more comfortable about her confession, if she had had an attorney or at least a relative with her, to help guide her in acting in her own behalf. I think I would probably have more confidence in the confession.