the Denver Post
BURLINGTON — A Burlington teen who killed his parents and seriously wounded two siblings was sentenced today to spend seven years in juvenile detention followed by probation.
The boy, who was 12 when the murders occurred on March 1 but has since turned 13, could have faced adult sanctions, but the district attorney chose to offer him a plea agreement that will result in years of counseling, followed by a chance at an adult life.
The plea agreement was announced in August, though the judge could have rejected it this morning. Instead, he heard testimony from the family, and saw evidence of the boy's emotional maturity, including photographs showing Legos scattered throughout his room, and a sand pit where he had been playing just before he went berzerk with a knife and gun.
A majority of the boy's family wanted to see him spend more than seven years in detention in the killings of Charles, 50, and Marilyn Long, 51, with some seeking a life sentence.
The hearing consisted of two parts. The first was conducted behind closed doors, with only the boy's family, attorney, counselors, judge and prosecutors in attendance.
Charles' older brother, Wally Long, spoke during both the closed and open portions of the hearing, saying he and most of his family disagree with the sentence.
"Our family has gone through a great tragedy," Long said. "I think the biggest tragedy is the sentence being handed down today."
District Attorney Bob Watson previously cited evidence of the boy's lack of maturity in choosing to give him a second chance at life through the juvenile sentence.
Marilyn's mother, who defense attorneys said visited the boy often after his arrest, wrote a letter on his behalf.
Tom Ward with the Colorado Public Defenders Office read the letter, which described the boy as caring and generous, but also stated that he confided in his grandmother about troubles in the home.
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.
If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
the Denver Post