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Teenager Convicted In Drowning Of 5-Year-Old

November 15, 1994

MAASTRICHT, Netherlands (AP) _ A 13-year-old boy was convicted Tuesday of drowning a 5-year-old in a neighborhood swimming pool, in a case that has raised questions about the treatment of mentally disturbed youths.

The older boy was on a one-week vacation from a treatment center when he drowned the child in July.

The defendant, whose name was withheld, confessed to repeatedly pushing Ramon Theuniszen underwater during a fight in an outdoor swimming pool in Susteren, 15 miles north of Maastricht, according to newspaper accounts. The child died a day later in a hospital.

Agreeing with expert testimony that the defendant was ″in a state of diminished responsibility,″ the three-judge panel sentenced the youth to indefinite confinement in a treatment center.

″He will be treated and experts must now try to figure out what is the matter with him,″ said John Maens, the District Court registrar.

The boy, described by Maens as ″mentally disturbed,″ was convicted of assault. He escaped murder or homicide charges because the judges were not convinced he intended to kill.

Defense attorney Gerard Linders would not elaborate on the nature of his client’s problems.

″Something had happened to him in his childhood,″ he said.

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