Idaho boy may face adult court in dad's shooting

POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) - A prosecutor in eastern Idaho says he will try to bring the case of a 12-year-old boy charged with first-degree murder in his father's shooting death into the adult court system.

Bannock County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Vic Pearson said he wants the case moved out of youth court to enhance the chances for a longer sentence should the boy be convicted. But Pearson said that doesn't mean he wants the boy sent away to an inappropriate, adult prison.

"We are not seeking to send this individual to the penitentiary," Pearson told the Idaho State Journal. "On the contrary, we feel he should remain under the custody of the juvenile corrections department.

The boy, who turned 12 last month, was arrested on Feb. 17 after his father was shot and killed at their home near Swan Lake. An autopsy concluded the father died from a gunshot wound to the head.

So far, investigators have released few details of the case against the boy, citing protections afforded juveniles under Idaho statute. The court file is also under seal.

Last week, Pearson filed a motion seeking a waiver to have the case moved out of the juvenile system and into district court. Pearson filed the waiver after discussions with the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections and the Attorney General.

The prosecutor's office is concerned about the short amount of time the boy could be incarcerated in the state's juvenile system. Pearson says he hopes to seek a blended sentence, in which an underage defendant serves time in a juvenile facility before being moved to the adult prison system.

"There is a possibility that if he were to remain in the juvenile court system, he could be released in a very short time, roughly a year and a half or when any treatment is completed," Pearson said. "We didn't feel that would be appropriate given the gravity and nature of the alleged charges."

A hearing on the proposed waiver is scheduled for April 4.

The boy's lawyer declined comment on the waiver and other aspects on the developing case.

"It's early in the proceedings, and as we learn more about the case, we will figure out where this case needs to end up," said Dave Martinez, chief public defender in Bannock County.

In deciding whether to move a juvenile case into adult court, Idaho judges have several factors to consider. Those include the seriousness of the offense, the need to protect the community beyond what the juvenile system can provide and the maturity and emotional attitude of the defendant.


Information from: Idaho State Journal