A judge Monday ruled that a 14-year-old Colorado Springs boy will not be tried as an adult in the shooting death of his younger brother and wounding of their mother.
Instead, Daniel Gudino will face first-degree murder and attempted murder charges in juvenile court where the most severe penalty he can face if convicted would be seven years in a youth offender prison.
Fourth Judicial District Judge David L. Shakes rejected a request by the district attorney to transfer the case to adult court. But Shakes also found there was enough evidence to support the charges and ordered that Gudino continued to be held without bond pending a June 7 court appearance.
Gudino is accused of shooting his 9-year-old brother Ulysses to death in his bed and then shooting and stabbing their mother Marina in the kitchen of the family’s home at 1837 Chapel Hills Drive on May 18, 2009. Daniel Gudino was 13 years old at the time.
Shakes’ decision came after five days of testimony last week in which public defenders for Gudino argued that the boy lacked the criminal intent to carry out the crimes because he suffers from sleepwalking and hallucinations. A child psychiatrist called as a defense witness said Gudino thought he was shooting at ghosts.
Prosecutors, however, pointed to Gudino’s interview with a Colorado Springs detective on the day of the shootings in which the boy described picking the lock of a gun cabinet with toothpicks, loading five rounds into a .22-caliber rifle, killing his brother and aiming between his mother’s eyes, intending to kill her. He missed, but hit her in the right shoulder before attacking her with a knife, police said.
“When a child is killed, there is a demand for justice,” Shakes said. “That search for justice is frequently a call for some punishment.”
“When a child is killed at the hands of another child, that search for justice becomes more complex,” the judge added.
“When a child is killed at the hands of another child who is also a sibling – that search for justice becomes very, very complex,” he said.
Shakes described Gudino is an immature defendant, without any “street smarts.” He also said the sleep disorder issues raised by the boy’s attorneys could serve as a defense at trial or they could mitigate a sentence.
He also ruled that keeping Gudino at a juvenile detention center does not pose a threat. Shakes did not rule on bond, but added that if he had, he would have found that prosecutors had met their burden to prove they had enough evidence to continue holding Gudino without bond.
Moments after Shakes announced his decision, Deputy Public Defender Noreen Simpson leaned over and gave Gudino a long hug.
After the hearing, Simpson declined comment on the charges but added, “We’re going to get him back here and get some help lined up for him.”
Kathleen Walsh, a spokeswoman for the district attorney described the case as complex.
“We appreciate the court taking an entire week to hear all of the information and we respect the court’s decision,” Walsh said.
Had he been tried and convicted as an adult, Gudino could have faced a prison sentence of up to 48 years on a charge of second-degree murder and attempted murder and he would have been the youngest prison inmate in Colorado since 1893.
Gudino’s parents, who have attended nearly every hearing since his arrest, pleaded with Shakes on Friday to keep the case in juvenile court, vowing to get their son whatever help he needs.
Daphne Burlingame, an attorney who has acted as a spokeswoman for the parents, said they were grateful for the judge’s decision.
“The family just wanted to say thank you very much to the community, to the schools, their family and friends for so much support during this trying time,” Burlingame said. “And to say thank you to the judge for his wisdom and that they’re very happy with the result of this hearing.”
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Monday, May 10, 2010