Court records obtained by PEOPLE confirm that an 11-year-old Tennessee boy has been found guilty of the Oct. 4, 2015, murder of his 8-year-old neighbor, who authorities claim was shot to death after refusing to show him her puppies.
Earlier this month, Jefferson County Juvenile Court Judge Dennis “Will” Roach II sentenced Benjamin Tiller to state custody until he turns 19.
Rob Johnson, a spokesman for Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services, tells PEOPLE that Benjamin is in the state’s custody, as are his five siblings.
Benjamin used his father’s shotgun to shoot McKayla Dyer in the chest, the judge ruled. The incident happened in a mobile home park in White Pine, Tennessee.
Benjamin shot McKayla because she would not let him see her puppies, officials allege.
Roach’s order suggests the state use every available resource to determine why Benjamin shot McKayla, and that he should be treated and rehabilitated so this never happens again.
“Mr. Tiller is in desperate need of help,” Roach wrote. “A child who commits first-degree murder cannot be willy-nilly turned loose into society.”
The judge describes the events that led up to the shooting, noting McKayla, her 11-year-old sister and another girl, also 11, were playing outside and talking to Tiller through his bedroom window.
The boy asked the girls to go get their puppies, according to the judge’s order. When they didn’t, Benjamin retrieved the shotgun as well as a BB gun.
Roach’s order claims McKayla laughed at Benjamin, telling him she didn’t believe the guns were real.
Benjamin “then made certain the gun was loaded, cocked the hammer on the gun and shot the victim just above the heart at a downward trajectory,” the judge wrote.
McKayla fell backward, “quickly lost consciousness, and was later confirmed dead,” the judge’s order reads.
Attempts to reach relatives of Benjamin and McKayla were unsuccessful.