Why Do Parents Kill?

A trial date still hasn't been set for the East Texas couple accused of burying a little boy in a back yard.  Billy Hill and Tabitha Boone were expected in court Wednesday for a pre-trial hearing.  Authorities say the couple worked together to bury the body of Tabitha's son, four year old Anthony Boone, after he'd been choked to death.

Boone reportedly confessed to killing her son in 2003 and led authorities to his remains in the back yard of their home.

The death of a child is often unexpected, but always tragic.  When parents are responsible, it becomes unexplainable.

Debra Burton, a licensed professional counselor, says, "About 16 percent of families have some type of violence.  Six percent of the families have substantial or significant violence.  There is a fine line between love, passion and hate."

When parents kill, it's usually not premeditated.  Sometimes, a child is suddenly killed as a result of other problems in the home.

"There's a lot of factors that might be contributing," Burton says.  "We're in a higher and higher level of stress and when people don't have coping mechanisms for that, one of the things that we do is react with anger."

A history of drugs and violence is a factor in many child murders, but it's not always the case.  That's why teachers and relatives should pay close attention to kids' behavior, expecially if there are signs something may be wrong at home.

Burton says adults should step in "if they notice that kids are acting funny; that they have marks that are unexplained that just seem to be more than the child falling down and hurting himself."

Help is always available whether a family can afford it or not.  Many schools offer counseling and so do some child advocacy groups at no cost.

Both hearings for Tabitha Boone and Billy Hill have been reset.  Billy Hill is expected in court February 16th.  Tabitha Boone has a court date in March.