Teen pleads not guilty to murder | VailDaily.com

Teen pleads not guilty to murder

Donna Gray

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Eric Alan Stoneman, 14, pleaded not guilty to a charge of first degree murder Wednesday in Glenwood Springs District Court after a day-long hearing in which the only eyewitness told a chilling story of a day when boys’ arguments turned deadly.District Court Judge Thomas Ossola found probable cause to charge Stoneman with premeditated murder. The boy allegedly shot and killed Taylor DeMarco, 9, on July 20, inside a mobile home in Battlement Mesa, which is about 100 miles west of Vail.During the hearing, Taylor’s father, Bill DeMarco, placed a small container with some of his son’s ashes on the railing. He also propped a picture of his son against the container facing the judge, the attorneys and Stoneman.Stoneman, clad in a blue shirt with white stripes, turned repeatedly back toward his mother and father, who were sitting behind him. At times, he smiled and mouthed words to them. But as the hearing wore on his head dropped to his chest.At a morning recess called by the judge, DeMarco, who had watched the exchanges, said to Stoneman, “I don’t think you have a whole lot to smile about. I’ll wipe that smile off your face.”He then left the courtroom clutching his son’s picture to his chest. As he left, he said, “I don’t trust myself. There ain’t a guy in there that can stop me. I don’t trust myself.”DeMarco was ejected from an earlier hearing when he threatened Stoneman and his family.Witnesses recounted the moments just after DeMarco’s death. The most stunning testimony came from the only eyewitness to the shooting. Eric Warde, 13, said the three boys were in a bedroom of his mobile home playing video games and had been arguing off and on during the day. Stoneman left and about 10 minutes later returned with a handgun, according to Warde. He said that he and DeMarco hid in a bedroom, locking the door, then retreated to a bathroom, again locking themselves in.Warde testified that Stoneman said, “This gun can go through the door.”Warde eventually unlocked the door and the boys came back into the living room. There, Warde said, Stoneman pointed the gun at both Warde and DeMarco, and at one point handed the gun to DeMarco assuring him the safety was on and it wouldn’t go off.Warde said Stoneman pointed the gun at him, then held it to his own head and put it in his mouth. Warde said he was frightened and was looking down at the time, then heard a shot go off.”Taylor screamed and opened the (front) door and ran out”, Warde said.DeMarco died outside in a pool of blood on steps of the mobile home.Stoneman’s public defender Greg Greer argued the first degree murder charge should be thrown out because Warde also said “over and over” to investigators that Stoneman was only trying to scare DeMarco and didn’t intend to shoot him. “He told you he was just trying to scare you and (the shooting) was just an accident,” Greer said.”There isn’t enough evidence by any standard” for a first degree murder charge, he said. “Deliberation does not exist in this case. Intent does not exist in this case. First degree murder is not a charge that should go against this 13-year-old boy.”Stoneman will appear in court Nov. 3 when a date will be set for his trial. Vail, Colorado

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