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Murder charge: teen killed his best friend and friend's mother

A killing committed by a teenager is an adult offense when the accused is 19 years old. Colorado recognizes 18 as the year of adulthood. Thus, anyone 18 or older who faces a murder charge will be dealt with as an adult under the state's criminal justice system.

A recent tragic killing in Colorado Springs illustrates some of the typical issues that arise in murder cases with potentially unstable young adults. A 19-year-old male is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of both his best friend and the friend's mother, police say. According to a witness, the accused had been staying with the victims after he was booted out of the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley. The witness stated that she was staying at the home the night of the killings and that she had asked her boyfriend to go downstairs to get her ice cream. A short time later, she heard a loud crash and gunshots, say the police.

She reportedly told police that she encountered the accused in the hallway, and that he told her that he was sorry and that he did not intend for it to happen. She found her boyfriend and his mother downstairs, both victims of gunshot wounds. Per the witness, the accused then took the dead woman's keys and absconded in her car. The accused was arrested in Utah the next night, police say. The case presents an intensive challenge for defense counsel.

Due to the dire punishment looming ahead for the suspect, federal and Colorado law demand that he receives a full and professional defense from a competent attorney on each murder charge. Defense counsel must investigate every detail of what happened, what was said, the sources of information, the forensic evidence and reports, and the defendant's precise explanation of what happened in chronological detail. If these reported facts are accurate, the identify and commission of the killings cannot be denied. Defense counsel will have to fashion a defense that stresses whatever mitigating circumstances may exist to lessen the criminality and criminal intent surrounding these tragic events.

Source: kdvr.com, "Affidavit: Teen fatally shot mother, son in Colorado Springs", Sarah Schueler, May 16, 2017

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