Updated: Oct 15, 2020
Children live a carefree life. Filled with days of Laughter and Play. Nurtured by their parents or guardians while learning and playing with friends. But what happens when beneath the carefree playful demeaner of a child lays the black heart of a murderer? Today on Most Deadly, we will explore 3 cases of children who left their cheery lives behind to commit heinous acts of homicide.
Lionel Tate came from a broken home. His parents divorced when he was young. Since His parents had shared custody, he was constantly moving back and forth between Mississippi and Florida. Because of this he attended multiple schools in his youth, making it hard for him to adjust to his surroundings or make friends. His teachers said he was a very lonely child that exhibited bad behaviors in an effort to gain the attention he believed he was not receiving elsewhere.
On the 28th of July 1999, when Lionel was 12, his mother agreed to babysit a friends daughter, 6 year old Tiffany Eunick. Tiffany and Lionel had only known each other a few weeks and even though they were a few years apart, they seemed to get along just fine. At around 10 pm that evening Mrs. Tate let the kids watch tv downstairs as she went up to her room to rest. About 40 minutes later she heard the children making a bunch of noise in the living room and she yelled towards the commotion and instructed them to settle down. Tate later went to his mother’s room and informed her that Tiffany was not breathing. Lionel had been a fan of wrestling and had put Tiffany in a choke hold and accidentally slammed her head into a table, claiming they were only playing around. This would be the same argument he made in court, but it would not be accepted by the jury and he was eventually found guilty.
Tate became the youngest person in American history to receive the death penalty without parole. In 2005 the court of appeals ruled that since Tate was not given a psychological evaluation during his trial that his sentence would be commuted. He was offered a plea deal of one year’s house arrest and 10 years’ probation. After accepting the plea deal and returning home, Tate was soon caught with a firearm and sentenced to 30 years in prison where he remains to this day. 2005 the court of appeals ruled that since Tate was not given a psychological evaluation during his trial that his sentence would be commuted. He was offered a plea deal of one year’s house arrest and 10 years’ probation. After accepting the plea deal and returning home, Tate was soon caught with a firearm and sentenced to 30 years in prison where he remains to this day.
Alyssa Bustamante Was born in 1994 to a pair of teenage drug addicts. Because of this, her Grandparents raised her as far away from her real parents as they could, in the hopes she would lead a normal and happy life. She battled depression, engaged in self-harm, and even tried to commit suicide several times, all before the age of 15. Frightened, Her Grandparents tried to get her help and for a while, it seemed to be working. But things soon turned dark when she started her own YouTube channel and began talking about her hobbies of “Self-Harm”, and “Killing People.’. Her friends were quoted saying that she was fun to be around, but they would mostly try and keep their distance due to her obsession with death.
It was reported that two weeks before the murder, Bustamante’s prescription of Prozac was increased. on the night of October 21, 2009, Bustamante dug two graves near her house. Later that night Alyssa lured her neighbor Elizabeth Olten, who was 9 at the time into the woods near where they both lived, with the promise of a gift. but what young Elizabeth would devastatingly discover is that this wasn’t the case.
There was no gift, and only death awaited her that night. Once both girls where far enough in the woods, Bustamante slit Elizabeth’s throat, then strangled her and stabbed her multiple times in the chest. She buried Elizabeth’s body with mud and leaves then headed home.
Once she got home she cleaned up and proceeded to write about the evening’s events in her diary. The entry she wrote goes as follows.
“I just fucking killed someone. I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they’re dead. I don’t know how to feel at the moment. It was amazing. As soon as you get over the ‘oh my god I can’t do this’ feeling, it’s pretty enjoyable. I’m kinda nervous and shaky though right now. Kay, I gotta go to church now. . . Lol.”
During the investigation, police questioned Alyssa as a potential witness. Although, Through this process, she lied and misled the police multiple times. Once even tricking them into searching for Elizabeth in the wrong place. But it would be this act that was her undoing. After this, the Police became aware of Bustamante’s YouTube channel, her disturbing mental history, and started suspecting her of Elizabeth’s murder. They issued a warrant and upon searching her room discovered her diary entry detailing the crime. They arrested Bustamante who finally in captivity confessed to the murder of little Elizabeth.
The police theorize, although it was never proven, that she actually dug 2 graves with the intention of killing both her brothers, but instead Lured Elizabeth when the opportunity arose. Alyssa Bustamante was given a 35-year sentence and was granted an eventual chance for parole due to her extreme psychological condition.
Eric Smith was, for the most part, a pleasant young man. He loved to visit with his Grandparents and did so quite often, and both described him as a sweet loving boy. Eric was diagnosed with a rare disorder called IED, or intermittent explosive disorder, which causes individuals that suffer from it to undergo repeated, sudden episodes of impulsive, aggressive, and violent behavior, or even angry verbal outbursts in which they react grossly out of proportion to the situation. It is believed that Eric was born with this condition, due to the fact that while His mother was pregnant with him, she took a drug for Epilepsy called triodione, which was known to lead to birth defects of this type. Growing up, Eric was constantly bullied due to his thick glasses, protruding ears, red hair, and freckles. Eric had a lot of pent up rage from being bullied, which when combined with his IED made for a powder keg of aggression just waiting to explode. Which it did on 4-year-old Derrick Robie.
On August 2, 1993, Eric was riding his bike to a local summer day camp he attended, when while On his journey he came across little Derrick Robie, walking unaccompanied on his way to the same camp. Eric took this opportunity to lured Derrick to a nearby wooded area. Once there, Eric strangled Derrick, dropped a large rock on his head, stripped him naked, and finally sodomized him with a stick he found nearby. On August 8th, 1993, less than a week after committing this despicable act, Eric confessed to his mother he had murdered Derrick in the woods. Upon hearing this and wanting her son to get help, Eric’s mother immediately contacted the police and turned her son in. During his confession, Eric told detectives he took his built-up rage out on Derrick, although, he couldn’t say why and only sodomized him to ensure he was truly dead.
On August 16, 1994, he was convicted of second-degree murder. Even though he has apologized to his victims family many times, they have not accepted, and do not believe he is sorry due to the fact he has shown no signs of remorse. Eric Smith has been denied parole many times over the years for a similar reason and is currently still in prison, having his most recent parole denied in January of 2020.