When Homeschoolers Turn Violent: Aza Vidinhar

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Series note: “When Homeschoolers Turn Violent” is a joint research project by Homeschoolers Anonymous and Homeschooling’s Invisible Children. Please see the Introduction for detailed information about the purpose and scope of the project.

Trigger warning: If you experience triggers from descriptions of physical and sexual violence, please know that the details in many of the cases are disturbing and graphic.

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Aza Vidinhar

In May 2013, 15-year-old Aza Vidinhar from West Point, Utah was babysitting 2 of his younger brothers, aged 4 and 10. When Aza’s mother returned home, she found the younger brothers dead, stabbed to death by Aza.

In May 2013, 15-year-old Aza Vidinhar from West Point, Utah stabbed 2 of his younger brothers to death while babysitting them.

In May 2013, 15-year-old Aza Vidinhar from West Point, Utah stabbed 2 of his younger brothers to death while babysitting them.

The Vidinhar family had 6 children, 4 of whom were adopted. Aza’s father was an engineer for the Air Force. They lived in “a wonderful neighborhood” where “kids are usually outside playing.” Aza was enrolled as a 9th grader at West Point Junior High as a member of the track team; in the school he was an honor student. However, his mother homeschooled him for other subjects. Aza was a quiet kid who had a speech impediment, was “socially awkward,” and kept to himself. Neighbors described him as “different” and said he was once found “throwing dozens of rocks over a fence.” While he was quiet and awkward, neither he nor any family members had a history of mental illness. Two years prior in 2011, Aza was in the news for running away from home.

On the day of the attack, Aza’s mother left him home alone with two younger siblings, Alex (10) and Benjie (4), while she took his other siblings to a dance recital. (Their father was away in another state.) Upon returning home, she found the dead bodies of 1 of the children. (Police later found the second body.) Aza was nowhere to be seen. He was later found (either by his adopted brothers or the police; reports differ) wandering miles away from home with traces of blood on his clothes.

Officials hesitated at first to charge Aza, though they arrested him and placed him in the Farmington Bay Youth Detention Center. As of August 2013, officials were determining whether Aza was fit to stand trial. In November 2013 he was charged with two counts of felony murder. On July 18, 2014, Aza pleaded guilty “in both juvenile and adult court to intentionally and knowingly stabbing his two younger brothers to death.”

View the case index here.

10 comments

  • There are some inaccuracies in this article.

  • “His adopted brothers later found him”…the police found Asa, not his adopted brothers.
    The mother only found one body; the police discovered the other when they arrived on the scene.
    Not sure, but think he was not being home schooled at all when the murders occurred, but had been in previous years.

    • Thanks, Sing Song. I found conflicting reports on who found Aza after the murders, so I simply changed that one sentence to include both reports and links to articles supporting each. I also changed the article to make clear the mother only found one body.

      As far as homeschooling goes: there’s honestly not much publicly available on the details. It seems like he was on-and-off homeschooled as well as continually enrolled in public school, too. The articles I used as sources for this homeschooling part were:

      http://www.wetpaint.com/moms/articles/2013-05-24-15-year-old-boy-fatally

      http://e.standard.net/stories/2013/05/25/charges-hold-west-point-brothers-stabbing-deaths

    • Yes, the newspapers had errors in them, imagine that. He had been homeschooled but was in a public school when this horrible thing happened. The newspaper also stated his dad was active duty but he is not. He works for the military as a civilian. All in all, this family has had a terrible tragedy and I continue to pray for them.

      Also, something went wrong with my posting. It was actually I who made the comment about the inaccuracies being in the article, not J.

      No matter what, the fact that we have teenagers doing these kind of crimes is really scaring to me.

  • Another inaccuracy. He was a public school child. He had been in public school for some time. This article should not even be ‘featured’ here.

  • OMG, despite the horrendous nature of this boy’s crime, your headline is so ridiculous I can’t help but laugh! I could just as easily (and probably more accurately) write: “When Honor Students Turn Violent” or “When Track Team Members Turn Violent”. Um, yeah, every parent — unless completely neglectful — “homeschools” their children in some “subjects”…maybe not straight out of some boring old textbook…but it’s unavoidable for a kid to not learn *something* from his parents.

  • That you chose to focus your headline on “homeschooler” is misleading. Trying to get views? It’s working. Poor journalism.

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