Note: Autism not a defense in Long Branch family murder case, expert says
We're going to watch this case as it unfolds. Scott Kologi is charged with murdering 4 family members on New Year's Eve with an assault style rifle. Media reports quote family and others as saying Kologi has autism. The report below is troubling on many levels. It seems callous in that it discounts his autism as a factor. We know that autism can be a severe disability even if a person seems "high functioning." Autism is a spectrum disorder. And despite the push to normalize it, make it look like a gift or shiny new blades on a Swiss Army Knife for life, autism is a serious diagnosis that deserves respect. As do those with the diagnosis. Scott Kologi could be one of our own - if he faces adult prosecution, he's looking at either a long prison sentence or, if found mentally ill, psychiatric imprisonment. We are not condoning the crime by any means, but we hope the autism community - yours, ours, theirs, including the Neurodiversity community - will keep an eye on this boy's case. Autism does not mean violence. Our kids should not be cast as criminals or criminally insane. With his parents dead, who will advocate for Scott? One article said his Mom took it upon herself to reach him to read when fellow students made fun of him. How's that for a warrior Mom? School may have just passed him through the grades. He did not attend his public high school. Not sure how much we will learn, since he is a minor. Stay tuned, and feel free to share any info you might have to add, especially if you're local. Thanks.
Kologi has been described as a special-needs student, and being on the autism spectrum, according to media interviews with neighbors, family friends and his grandparents. Bianchi said that even if the boy does fall on the autism spectrum that does not mean he will escape a murder conviction.
“We don’t know what this term ‘autism’ means,” he said. “Everybody’s throwing that out there as if he’s autisitic, therefore it’s a defense. That’s not accurate. Whatever his issues are, they have to be to a point where he does not appreciate the difference between right or wrong.”
Autism not a defense in Long Branch family murder case, expert says
By Adam Hochron January 2, 2018 10:32 PM
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LONG BRANCH — One of the few things known about the 16-year-old boy accused of gunning down his parents, sister and family friend on New Year’s Eve is that he has a developmental disability. But attorneys representing the accused murderer will not be able to rely on that factor alone to defend him in court.
Scott Kologi is charged with killing his father, Steven Kologi, 44; his mother, Linda, 43; his 18-year-old sister, Brittany; and family friend Mary Schultz, 70.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said he intends to try the boy as an adult, which will happen only when a judge agrees to waive the case up to criminal court.
Former Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi said moving the case to an adult courtroom as opposed to keeping it in the juvenile justice system would greatly increase the punishment the boy could face if convicted. An adult convicted of murder would face a minimum sentence of 30 years in prison, while a conviction in juvenile court would result in just a couple of years behind bars.
“Essentially, the difference is that where an adult court is about punishment and deterrence, the juvenile justice system is about rehabilitation of the offender,” Bianchi said. “The idea there is they’re going to try and rehabilitate him as a juvenile offender, as opposed to the adult system … where it’s merely punishment.” Read more here.
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