Willie James Bosket, born on December 9, 1962, is a convicted murderer, whose crimes, committed while he was still a minor, led to a change in New York state law, so that juveniles as young as thirteen could be tried in adult court for murder and would face the same penalties.
On Sunday, March 19, 1978, Willie Bosket, then fifteen years old, shot dead Noel Perez on the New York subway, during an attempted robbery. Eight days later, Bosket shot another man, Moises Perez (no relation to his first victim) in another attempted robbery.
Bosket was tried and convicted of the murders in the New York City Family court, where he was sentenced to five years imprisonment, the maximum sentence for someone of his age. The short length of Bosket's sentence caused a huge public outcry, and led the New York State Legislature to pass the Juvenile Offender Act of 1978.
Under this act, children as young as thirteen years old could be tried in an adult court for crimes such as murder, and receive the same penalties as adults. New York was the first state to enact a law of this nature; many other legislatures have since followed suit.
He was sent to state prison for four years after trying to break out of the youth facility, and was released in 1983. After 100 days he was arrested when a man living in his apartment complex claimed Bosket had robbed and assaulted him. While awaiting trial, he assaulted several court officers. He was found guilty of attempted assault for the dispute in the apartment and sentenced to seven years in prison. Not long after that, he was convicted of assault and arson. Under New York's habitual-offender law, he was sentenced to 25 years to life. He has since drawn two additional life sentences for offenses committed while in the maximum-security Shawangunk Correctional Facility, including assaulting a guard with a chain and stabbing another.
As of March 2011, Bosket (NYSDOCS inmate number 84A6391) was housed in a special cell at Woodbourne Correctional Facility. He will not be eligible for parole until 2062.