Articles Posted in Juvenile Crime

A 14-year-old boy was charged and sentenced as an adult for the Colorado murder of his mother and step-father, according to The Valley Courier. The boy, who was reported to have been repeatedly abused and neglected by his mother, shot and killed his mother, and then his step-father on October 26, 2009, with firearms owned by his step-father. The boy was represented by public defenders in the complicated two-year court case, which prompted criticisms concerning the failure of the child welfare system, and the justice system.

The boy, who expressed remorse in a public statement, explained that his actions against his mother were the result of repressed anger after years of abuse by her hands. He shot her twice and then hid in the laundry room. He shot and killed his step-father out of fear of what he would do to him once he discovered that he killed his mother. A psychologist who evaluated the boy stated that it was the worst case of abuse he had ever seen. Even after years of abuse and repeated calls to social services, the child welfare system failed to help him.
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In 2006, Colorado eliminated the sentence of life without the chance of parole for juvenile offenders. However, 45 prisoners in the state facing that sentence were left with little possibility of freedom. The Denver Post reports that a bill is before the House Judiciary Committee this month that seeks to retroactively apply the law to those prisoners.

House Bill 1287, co-sponsored by State Representatives Claire Levy (D-Boulder) and B.J. Nikkel (R-Loveland), would apply the 2006 law to the 45 prisoners retroactively, making the juveniles who were convicted and sentenced as adults qualified for parole after serving 40 years. Before 2006, teens that were sentenced faced lifetime prison sentences without the possibility of parole.
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The New York Times reports that a 12-year-old boy was taken into custody on March 1 in Burlington, Colorado on suspicion of killing both of his parents and severely wounding his younger brother and sister. He is currently being held in a juvenile facility.

According to Colorado authorities, the boy’s parents were discovered dead in their home after local police received a phone call from the boy, who reported that shorts had been fired. The cause of death for the couple has not yet been officially released, but 9 News reports that they both suffered gunshot wounds.

The boy’s 5-year-old sister and 9-year-old brother were seriously injured and taken to a local hospital for treatment and later transported to The Children’s Hospital in Aurora, where they are listed in critical condition. According to 9 News, the girl had knife injuries on her neck and back. The 9-year-old boy also had knife injuries and was shot. It is believed both children will make a full recovery.
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Twenty-five students from Skyview Middle School in Colorado Springs have been suspended after being caught “sexting.” The 6th grade students were allegedly forwarding a picture of a naked 12-year-old girl on their cell phones. Under Colorado law, the students could be facing a felony charge for the incident. The El Paso County District Attorney received the case for review on Wednesday afternoon. He stated that in cases like this one, mandatory education and counseling is the best first step for the students.

A parent of one of the suspended students believes that Skyview may have mishandled the situation. It is questionable as to why the students were suspended from school as the text was sent after school hours. In addition, the school’s resource officer threatened the students and told them that the incident will ruin their lives, preventing them from getting a good job later in life. School officials also interrogated the students and confiscated their cell phones without alerting parents.
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Colorado’s NBC affiliate KUSA-TV recently reported that seven city blocks located near the University of Colorado served as the site of numerous acts of vandalism that ranged from theft to destruction of property. Reportedly, the acts of vandalism began early Saturday morning outside the First Congregational Church where one of the church’s doors was smashed in by a parking sign that the individuals responsible for the vandalism dislodged from the ground. The property damage continued across six more blocks, and resulted in thousands of dollars worth of damage.

According to the news story, Boulder Police did not have as many units in the area because of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, when many University of Colorado students travel back home or out of town for the long weekend. Police investigating the random acts of vandalism are still looking for leads that may further their investigation. Depending on the total amount of damage that is determined to have been done, those responsible for the vandalism could face criminal mischief or more severe criminal charges.
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Colorado Springs police officials have arrested a juvenile on suspicion of shooting and killing a 43-year-old man, according to this KOAA news report. The man’s body was found on a hiking trail near the Marvin J. Urban picnic pavilion in Palmer Park. He had died of multiple gunshot wounds, officials said. Police are not releasing the name of the suspect because he is a juvenile. The investigation is ongoing.

When a juvenile is accused of a Colorado violent crime or felony such as homicide, it could have lifelong consequences on the young person. Juvenile courts in Colorado work differently than regular courts or “adult courts.” However, this does not mean that children accused of serious crimes are let off easy. The pluses to having your child’s case tried in juvenile court include protection of your child’s identity and privacy, and the ability to have the hearings closed to the public and media. Still, in some cases, prosecutors can ask a judge to treat the juvenile “as an adult.” What this means is that your child’s case could be moved to an adult court where the case could become a public spectacle. This could happen with serious crimes such as murder, homicide or sexual assault cases.
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