On this day, Feb. 12, in 1993, 10-year-old boys Jon Venables and Robert Thompson lured 2-year-old James Bulger from his mother at a shopping mall near Liverpool, England, then beat him to death and dumped his battered body onto a railway track.
The crime prompted widespread debate about the nature of evil in children and how to deal with young offenders in the judicial system.
Grainy security camera video showed Venables and Thompson searching for their target and taking the hand of a trusting James.
After eight years in a reformatory, Thompson and Venables were released in 2001, after much public debate. The 18-year-olds were given new identities to protect them from vigilantes.
In 2010, Venables was returned to prison for possession of child pornography and is trying to get his release.
- Scott McCabe