Thirteen Year-old Boy Sentenced To 28 Years In Adult Prison
An Article By Terence T. Gorski
GORSKI-CENAPS Web Publications
Updated On: August 07, 2001
© Terence T. Gorski, 2001
These Books & Manuals On Relapse
GORSKI-CENAPS Books - www.relapse.org 1-800-767-8181
& Consultation: www.tgorski.com,
Gorski-CENAPS, 17900 Dixie Hwy, Homewood, IL 60430, 708-799-5000
Thirteen Year-old Boy
Sentenced To 28 Years In
A good man, Barry Grunow
was shot to death at Lake Worth Middle School on May 26, 2000. Today
the horror of his death was compounded by the brutality and
short-sightedness of a criminal justice system that fails to recognize
child developmental issues in dealing with children and adolescence.
Nathan Brazill, the thirteen year old murderer, was sentenced to 28
years in adult prison. His history of child abuse counted for little
or nothing in the criminal proceedings. The key villain in this
tragedy is not Nathaniel Brazill who shot his teacher to death in a fit of
anger. The key villains are
Let's look at exactly
what punishment that
We have a serious problem
with how we treat juvenile offenders in this country and the Brazill case
is just one example. There are at least three things that need to be
First, the responsibility
for decided who is tried as an adult and who is tried as a juvenile should
shift from the prosecutor to the judge;
Second, All youth should
be tried in the juvenile justice system who are under the age of sixteen
Teen Gets 28 Years for Killing
By AMANDA RIDDLE
Associated Press Writer
JULY 27, 2001
Amanda Riddle of the Associated Press reported that an July 27, 2001,
Nathaniel Brazill was sentenced to 28 years in adult prison.
Brazill, who was thirteen years old at the time, shot his favorite teacher
to death when he went into a rage on the last day of school. The
victim, Barry Grunow was shot to death at Lake Worth Middle School on May
Brazill, who was tried as an adult, was sentenced to 28-years sentence
without the possibility of parole or time off for good behavior. In
issuing the sentence, Judge Wennet had to decide whether the teen would be
a danger to society or could be rehabilitated. But he made no public
comment on his reasoning for imposing the 28-year sentence. To add
the absurdity of this, sentence the judge also ordered Brazill to earn his
high school diploma, take an anger management course, and spend two years
in a halfway house after completing his sentence. He also will serve five
Defense lawyer Robert Udell said the family will appeal and will not
seek clemency until the appeals process was completed.
The defense had sought the
minimum 25-year term. Brazill's family rejected a plea deal of 25 years
offered by prosecutors before the trial.
Kay Grunow, the victim's sister, said she was ``extremely
disappointed'' with the sentence, calling it ``an insult to Barry's
Brazill was tried as an adult and convicted in May of second-degree
murder for killing the 35-year-old English teacher he called a ``great man
and a great teacher.'' Brazill had returned to school after being
suspended by a counselor earlier that day for throwing water balloons. He
shot Grunow after the teacher refused to let the seventh-grader talk to
two girls in his class.
At a daylong sentencing hearing Thursday, Brazill apologized for the
first time, telling the judge: ``Words cannot really explain how sorry I
am, but they're all I have.'' Brazill insisted, however, as he did
during his trial, that he didn't mean to hurt his teacher.
In urging a life sentence, Grunow's mother and two brothers said
Brazill was a danger to society and must be punished for the murder.
``This was not an accident. I think Nathaniel should be punished to the
fullest extent of the law,'' Phyllis Grunow, the victim's mother, said at
Thursday's hearing. ``I don't think any family should have to go through
Brazill's mother, Polly Powell, also testified Thursday, sobbing and
wiping away tears as she asked the Grunow family for forgiveness and
begged the judge to be lenient.
``Nathaniel is my first born and I love him like nobody else can. I
just ask you that you please have mercy on him,'' Powell said. A
defense witness testified that Brazill was a ``pot boiling over''
following his suspension and after years of silence about physical abuse
of his mother by boyfriends. ``All this other stuff was exploding
inside of him,'' said Jacqueline Patterson, deputy superintendent of
Asked why Grunow was targeted, child psychologist James Gabarino, a
Cornell University professor, testified that Brazill was in such a frenzy
over his love life and the suspension that who the victim was ``may not
Prosecutor Marc Shiner asked for a life sentence, but made a second
recommendation of 40 years in prison and probation should the judge not
sentence Brazill to life. ``This young man deserves to spend the
rest of his life in jail without parole,'' Shiner said. ``That's the only
way we can be sure he won't hurt someone again.''
Terence T. Gorski is internationally
recognized for his contributions to Relapse
Prevention Therapy. The scope of his work, however, extends far beyond
this. A skilled cognitive behavioral therapist with extensive training in
experiential therapies, Gorski has broad-based experience and expertise in
the chemical dependency, behavioral health, and criminal justice fields.
To make his ideas and methods more
available, Gorski opened The CENAPS Corporation, a private training and
consultation firm of founded in 1982. CENAPS is committed to
providing the most advanced training and consultation in the chemical
dependency and behavioral health fields.
Gorski has also developed skills
training workshops and a series of low-cost
book, workbooks, pamphlets, audio and videotapes. He also works with a
team of trainers and
consultants who can assist individuals and programs to utilize his
ideas and methods.
Terry Gorski is available for personal
and program consultation, lecturing,
and clinical skills training workshops. He also routinely schedules
workshops, executive briefings, and personal growth experiences for
clinicians, program managers, and policymakers.
Mr. Gorski holds a B.A.
degree in psychology and sociology from Northeastern Illinois University
and an M.A. degree from Webster's College in St. Louis, Missouri.
He is a Senior Certified Addiction Counselor In Illinois. He
is a prolific author who has published numerous books, pamphlets and
articles. Mr. Gorski routinely makes himself available for
interviews, public presentations, and consultant. He has presented
lectures and conducted workshops in the U.S., Canada, and
books, audio, and video tapes written and recommended by Terry Gorski
contact: Herald House - Independence Press, P.O. Box 390 Independence, MO
64055. Telephone: 816-521-3015 0r 1-800-767-8181. His
publication website is www.relapse.org.
Gorski and Other Members of the GORSKI-CENAPS Team Are Available To Train
& Consult On Areas Related To Addiction, Recovery, & Relapse
Gorski - CENAPS, 17900 Dixie Hwy, Homewood, IL
60430, 708-799-5000 www.tgorski.com, www.cenaps.com,
|This article is
copyrighted by Terence To Gorski. Permission is given to reproduce
this article if the following conditions are met: (1) The authorship
of the article is properly referenced and the internet address is
given; (2) All references to the following three websites are
retained when the article is reproduced - www.tgorski.com,
www.relapse.net; (3) If the article
is published on a website a reciprocal link to the four websites listed
under point two is provided on the website publishing the article.