Utah teen may be certified in June as an adult in brothers’ killings
Farmington • A judge will decide in June whether a West Point teen will be tried as an adult on charges that he fatally stabbed his two adopted brothers last year.
The certification hearing was delayed one month to June 25-27 so attorneys can finish collecting medical records and expert reports. Prosecutors have said they will push for the 15-year-old to be charged as an adult; defense attorneys will ask Second District Juvenile Judge Janice Frost to keep the boy in the juvenile system.
The teen was arrested May 22 after his mother called 911 to report finding her 4-year-old son dead on the floor of her West Point home, and her 15-year-old and 10-year-old sons missing. Deputies found the 10-year-old’s body in another part of the house. Both victims suffered "penetrating knife wounds," Davis County Sheriff Todd Richardson has said.
Officers later that night found the 15-year-old walking in Layton, about 8 miles from the crime scene. He was taken to a hospital and then to the Davis County Sheriff’s Office interrogation room for what would become a controversial interview. The teen was held for questioning into the next morning and pressured by four detectives to give statements even though he refused multiple times and had fallen asleep twice, his defense attorneys claimed.
Frost in November agreed that the questioning violated the boy’s Miranda rights, and his statements could not be used against him in the case. Prosecutors have declined to discuss what the boy said or how the loss of those statements would affect their case. But certain other spontaneous statements made by the teen can still be used by prosecutors, according to attorneys and court documents. Also, police have said that traces of blood found on the teen link him to the crime scene.
The teen is lodged at the Farmington Bay Youth Detention Center and is receiving therapy, a guardian ad litem told Frost on Thursday. The teen’s father sat beside the boy during the hearing.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys also alerted Frost they plan to request changes to media access to future court proceedings. Defense attorney Todd Utzinger said June’s certification hearing could introduce testimony that is "sensitive to the family," Utzinger said.
"We want to be sensitive to that," Utzinger said. Frost said media organizations will have an opportunity to weigh in on any changes to court rules.
The Salt Lake Tribune initially reported the name of the 15-year-old in an effort to help police locate him. However, after the teen’s arrest, and consistent with the newspaper’s policy of not naming juvenile criminal suspects, his name is now being withheld.
The teen has no prior criminal history, according to court officials.