Derek Mcstoots case study

Derek Mcstoots case study

The teenager wanted to get out of the 11th grade, and he wanted to get away from the small Kentucky farming town where his family had stayed for a long time. At only 16 years, Derek McStoots took his father pickup and ran away from where they lived. He moved to a far place, Daytona Beach, Fra where his parents later brought him back to home. Hours after coming back, he ran away once again, but this time his parents couldn’t go after him. According to the police report, this time he killed the parents. Derek shot his father Bradford Mcshoots, 45, in the head while he was asleep, Derek beat his father with the hunting rifle. Derek’s mother Mary Coleen,44, was awakened by the shot and bludgeoned such that her body was also found in the hall. The review, therefore, is a case study examining the facts in the case study and the theory about the case. The paper also discusses the theory that wouldn’t appropriately explain Derek’s behavior.

There are various facts in the case; the 1st fact is that the relationship between the parents and the teenager was stormy. It can be difficult to beat the parents to death if the connection is right; this is the reason why I say that the relationship between Derek’s and his parents was stormy. The other fact in the case is that Derek was a frequent smoker of marijuana. While under the influence of drugs, an individual can do the things that seem awkward and unethical in society. Coronel Ronald Hudson said that Derek had been smoking marijuana, and even there was a time he spent 16 days in the rehabilitation center (McSTOOTS, 2008). In the Grayson County High, there were papers signed by Derek’s mother showing that she had agreed to let Derek drop out of the school. The other fact is that there was a letter found in Derek’s home explaining that the parents were prepared to send Derek to a psychiatrist. This means that there were some things that he committed which made him perceived an individual of unsound mind. There was another time when Derek had been caught by the police trying to break the tail light, and he was sent back to his home. Derek McStoots was like any other kid in society; this means that he had several friends like any other teenager. There were no similar cases experienced in Kentucky; where a child kills the parents after they bring him/her back home. Derek’s family also lived in an average comfortable home; his room was no smaller than the other kids’ rooms. In this regard, there was something wrong with Derek.

The theory about the case that could be used to analyze why Derek did the acts is the trait theory of criminology. The most vital ideology behind this theory is that an individual difference can be measured scientifically. The approach views criminal behavior as a result of a defect in the individual (Siegel, 2018). Nature, genetic or biological factors can influence the defect. For example, in our case, it is evident that there was a time Derek was caught by the police and sent back to the parents. The fact is a biological case where the criminal behavior could be within Derek’s lineage. No matter the number of times that Derek was brought back home by the parents, he couldn’t feel comfortable, and he got back into the same criminal activity after a short period. The theory also states that punishment serves as a different goal in biological theory. Although penalties are put in place to help the members of the society, they don’t help an individual with defect or abnormality. The case of Derek seems to be abnormal because no other kid had ever done such a thing in Kentucky. This was the reason why he couldn’t stop the habit even after visiting the psychiatrist. The theorist that could agree with my perspective is Cesare Lombroso of the anthropological criminology theory. Lombroso felt that criminal behaviors could be inherited and this means that punishment cannot play a role in ending this illegal activity.

The theory that wouldn’t appropriately explain Derek’s behavior is a rational choice theory. The theorists of this theory that I identified as inappropriate are Cornish and Clarke. The theory is an economic principle that assumes people always makes wise decision to provide them with the highest personal utility (Siegel, 2018). Here, individuals put their interests above everything when making their decision. In our case study, Derek doesn’t make a wise decision that provide him with the highest amount of personal interest. His parents are critical in his life; they can help him in various stages of life. However, he doesn’t realize this, and he goes ahead to kill them without caring about his future life without parents. In rational choice theory, individuals maximize advantage and minimize losses. This is different in our case study; Derek’s increases loss by killing the parents and decreases advantages of living with his parents. He, therefore, doesn’t make utility maximizing decision as required by the theory. This theoretical approach is lacking sound evidence.



Siegel, L. (2018). Criminology. Boston, MA; Cengage Learning.

McSTOOTS v. Kentucky, 555 U.S. 862, 129 S. Ct. 139 (2008).

Barkan, S.E. (2015). Criminology. Boston, MA., Pearson Publishing Company.

Schmalleger, F. (2009). Criminology Today: An Integrative Introduction. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Pearson Prentice Hall.