REVIEW: ‘Teens Who Kill’ S1 E3 is a valuable and insightful look into the minds of killer kids
In January 2015, the 18-year-old Ben Moynihan was found guilty of the attempted murder of three women in Portsmouth and sentenced to 21 years in prison.
The teenager, who was seventeen at the time of the attacks, lurked in secluded alleyways and stabbed three different women in the breast in broad daylight during a three-week reign of terror.
He wrote in his personal diary that he was “planning to murder mainly women as an act of revenge because of the life they gave me” and that he attacked women because “I grew up to believe them as a more weaker part of the human breed”.
In the third episode of CBS Reality’s thought-provoking Teens Who Kill series, Moynihan’s case is examined from all angles. Why did he commit these atrocious crimes – and could he have been helped?
As usual, Teens Who Kill presents a balanced and interesting case study using the words of people who knew Moyniham, examined Moyniham and worked on the case. It’s left to the viewer to make up their minds on the case based on the facts, but regardless of which way you swing on the correct crime or punishment, the discussion of Moyniham’s culpability is powerful television.
There’s no escaping Moyniham’s emotional immaturity, suggests a psychologist who worked on the case. There’s an honest and desperate desire to be acknowledged and validated by committing these crimes, and a history of unhappiness from the perpetrator. There’s a lot of talk about the horrible acts Moyniham wanted to commit – in his letters to the police, his diaries and his videos – but a lack of evidence for psychopathy. Could Moyniham be another victim of a system that failed to identify and help him? If he is, is a 21-year prison sentence the answer?
One particular highlight is a heartbreaking testimony from a former classmate suggesting Moyniham lacked the support he needed at school and could not fully comprehend the weight of his actions.
Once more, Teens Who Kill is a much-needed and valuable insight into the minds and lives of those teenagers who commit some of the country’s most horrific crimes. Is a nationwide lack of sympathy and resources devoted to mental health a contributing factor in these crimes? It’s worth thinking about.