Courts • Boy charged in juvenile court, but prosecutors will try to certify him as adult.
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Murder charges were filed Thursday against a 15-year-old boy accused of stabbing his adopted brothers to death in their West Point home last month.
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said in a news release Thursday that two counts of first-degree felony murder were filed against the teen in 2nd District Juvenile Court but said his office will try to certify the teen as an adult and prosecute him in adult court.
"We believe that in the vast majority of circumstances, minors should remain in the juvenile justice system," Rawlings said in the news release. "Despite that orientation, in this particular case, the Davis County Attorney's Office will seek to certify the 15-year-old male as an adult."
A juvenile judge will decide whether the teen will stay in juvenile court or be moved to the adult court. Rawlings noted that in the juvenile system, a person is released from custody at 21-years-old, regardless of the crime. But if the teen is charged in adult court, he could face up to life in prison, if convicted.
In some cases, charges can be filed against a juvenile directly in district court if the crime is considered "aggravated," however, the 15-year-old isn't old enough to qualify for direct filing.
The 15-year-old is scheduled to appear on July 16 before Judge Janice Frost in Farmington.
Davis County Sheriff Todd Richardson said last month that the bodies of the two boys were found in their West Point home on May 22 around 7:35 p.m. He said the boys appeared to have suffered "penetrating knife wounds."
Deputies rushed to the home at 120 S. 1660 West after the boys' mother called 911 to report finding her 4-year-old son dead on the floor of the home, and her 15-year-old and 10-year-old sons missing.
The 15-year-old boy had been put in charge of the two boys when their mother took her other children to a dance recital at about 4:45 p.m., investigators said.
Deputies found the 10-year-old's body in another part of the house, then issued a missing person alert for the 15-year-old, who was found late that night in nearby Layton.
The Salt Lake Tribune initially reported the name of 15-year-old in an effort to help police locate him. However, following 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 was found walking on the street by Layton police about 11:30 p.m., some eight miles from the crime scene. Authorities said the teen did not have a weapon when he was found, but traces of blood were found on him. He was taken to the hospital to be checked out before questioning and was then booked into at the Farmington Bay Youth Detention Center on suspicion of two counts of homicide, Richardson said.
The teen has no criminal history, according to court officials.