Murder suspect makes third court appearance
EAGLE — The young teen accused of killing his father made his third court appearance, telling the judge he’s “good.”
“I’m not uncomfortable at Mount View in any way,” he said, when District Court Judge Fred Gannett smiled and asked him what “good” means, something Gannett asks everyone in his court who responds that way.
The 13-year-old is accused of shooting his father twice, once in the back of the head and once in the temple, with a .22 caliber rifle. He reportedly spent six days alone with his father’s body before he was discovered by sheriff’s deputies who went to the house to make sure everything was OK.
Dressed in green jail clothes resembling surgical scrubs, he sat at the defendant’s table. His hands and feet were not shackled. His brown hair hung down over his ears and collar.
He’s represented by public defender Reed Owens and the public defenders office. Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Wiard is prosecuting the case, along with District Attorney Bruce Brown.
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The boy is being held in Mount View, a juvenile detention facility in Jefferson County. It’s unlawful in Colorado to hold juveniles in the same jail as adult inmates.
Brown said prosecutors are still trying to determine whether he will be tried as a juvenile or an adult.
“We’re weighing whether to seek transfer to an adult court,” Brown said. “The court is trying to provide as much opportunity as possible to know the circumstances regarding how and why, and then once that’s done and taking public safety into highest consideration, we’ll determine whether to move forward with charges as an adult. It’s not a unilateral decision by the District Attorney’s Office.”
Support from friends
A dozen people from the boy’s school were in the courtroom, as well as his mother, seated at a table behind him.
Judge Gannett worked through the rest of his afternoon docket before calling this case.
Gannett warmly welcomed the crowd and thanked them for their attention, as attorneys for both sides jockeyed for position about who would be allowed access to what information and witnesses.
“Coming to this court on a regular basis may be tantamount to watching paint dry,” Gannett said. “It may appear that nothing substantive is happening, but I would advise you not to grasp that conclusion. A great deal is happening, but perhaps not in this courtroom. If you think it appears that nothing is happening, I can assure you that it is, but it’s happening behind the scenes.”
What police say happened
The saga began Wednesday, April 30, when the victim, the boy’s father, was scheduled to meet with Eagle County sheriff’s deputies to discuss a graffiti investigation. The father didn’t show up.
The following Monday morning, after the boy’s father had not shown up for his job with Eagle County’s public works department, one of the department heads contacted the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies were told that the juvenile son had called in several days in a row, stating that his father was ill and would not be at work.
Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy said it seemed suspicious, so deputies stopped by to make sure everything was OK.
That Monday morning, May 5, around 11:30 a.m., a deputy stopped by their Gypsum home. When deputies arrived the boy answered the door and told deputies that his 50-year-old father was dead in the residence.
He was taken into custody and faces first-degree murder charges.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vail daily.com.