Texas 10-year-old admits to killing man when he was 7, authorities say

NIXON, Texas — Texas authorities investigating the 2022 murder of Brandon Rasberry were stunned earlier this month when they got a confession — from a 10-year-old boy.

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The boy, whose name is being withheld by police, was unknown to investigators until April 12, when a principal at the Nixon-Smiley Consolidated Independent School District called the Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office. According to a news release, the principal reported that the boy had threatened to kill a classmate on the school bus the evening before.

During the subsequent threat assessment conducted by the school, the boy made concerning statements indicating his involvement in the killing of Rasberry. In a letter sent to parents, Nixon-Smiley ISD officials said the boy would not be returning to his elementary school.

Because of his age at the time of the crime, however, the child cannot be charged in Rasberry’s death.

“Texas Penal Code 8.07 states that a child does not have criminal culpability until they reach the age of 10 years old,” deputies said in a statement. “At the time of the murder, the juvenile suspect was 7 years old, one week shy of his 8th birthday.”

Rasberry’s father, Kenneth Rasberry, told KSAT in San Antonio that he was stunned by the news regarding his son’s alleged killer.

“I was shocked. Very shocked,” Rasberry said. “This isn’t anywhere the suspect that we thought it was.”

Brandon Rasberry, 32, was found shot to death Jan. 18, 2022, inside his trailer at the Lazy J RV Park in Nixon. Rasberry had moved to the park just four days before his body was discovered.

All leads were quickly exhausted in the case, which subsequently grew cold.

The case heated up only when a deputy went to the boy’s school April 12 to take a report and investigate the child’s claims to school officials.

“The 10-year-old child provided information that was consistent with first-hand knowledge of the homicide of Brandon Rasberry,” authorities said in the news release.

The boy’s grandfather lived at the RV park, a few lots from Rasberry, at the time of the killing.

According to the boy, he was visiting his grandfather the afternoon of Jan. 16, 2022, when he found a pistol in the glove compartment of his grandfather’s truck. The child said the gun was a 9-millimeter pistol that was “dirt and army green” in color.

The boy reportedly said he went into Rasberry’s trailer, where Rasberry was in bed, and fired a shot that struck the sleeping man in the head. He told deputies that he fired a second shot into Rasberry’s couch as he fled the RV.

He then returned the gun to the truck’s gun box, authorities said.

“When asked, the child stated he had never met Brandon and did not know who he was, although he had observed him walking around the RV earlier in the day,” the news release states. “The child was also asked if he was mad at Brandon for some reason, or if Brandon had ever done anything to him to make him mad. The child stated no.”

The boy was able to tell detectives that his grandfather had later pawned the weapon he’d used to kill Rasberry. Investigators subsequently went to a Seguin pawn shop and seized the handgun as evidence.

Ballistic examinations of the gun and shell casings found on the floor of Rasberry’s trailer proved it was the weapon used to kill Rasberry.

The boy was placed on a 72-hour emergency psychiatric hold in San Antonio following his confession, according to deputies. He was later returned to the Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office and booked on a charge of making a terroristic threat in the school bus incident.

Kenneth Rasberry said that, despite his grief, he has sympathy for the boy who took his own child’s life.

“This is a little boy, (who) for reasons that I’m sure … these counselors and case managers and all of that, they’re going to pick that poor little boy’s brain apart,” Rasberry told KSAT. “He needs to be prayed on. He needs to be comforted.

“He’s forgiven, and he can still be saved. He’s so young. He’s definitely tormented by something.”