Two Basalt teenagers who at one time faced charges of conspiracy to commit murder for a plot to assault another boy and abandon him in a remote spot near Ruedi Reservoir have pleaded guilty to felony attempted kidnapping charges.
One teen, who was 17 at the time and described by authorities as the main accomplice to the chief suspect, then 15 years old, pleaded guilty Oct. 10. He was given credit for six months of time served and sentenced to probation, District Attorney Mark Hurlbert of the 5th Judicial District said Wednesday.
The other teen pleaded guilty to the same charge Nov. 15 and will be sentenced Jan. 10, Hurlbert said. The conspiracy to commit murder counts were dropped in negotiations, in exchange for pleading to the lesser charge.
Prosecutors are awaiting a pre-sentence investigation of the boy before deciding what to recommend to the judge as punishment, he said.
“Obviously we think this is a very serious crime,” Hurlbert said, noting that the teens pleaded guilty to class III felonies.
Both boys were arrested in April. Police said the younger teen drew three diagrams, one of which showed the area around Basalt High School and the spot where he, the older defendant and possibly other youths planned to ambush the boy with baseball bats. The bad blood between the main suspect and the potential victim allegedly involved drug dealing and a relationship with a girl.
But the plot never came to fruition. Parents who found one of the diagrams thought it was a map showing where a drug deal was to take place in Arbaney Park and alerted authorities. School resource officer Brian Lemke of the Basalt Police Department talked with a student who told him that the event at the park “was actually a planned assault and abduction, and not a drug deal,” police said in a press release at the time of the arrests. “The juvenile informed officer Lemke that the map and description was for a plan by local gang members to beat, kidnap and potentially murder a rival gang member by luring him to that location.”
The main suspect told investigators that they planned to incapacitate the boy with the bats, tie him up and take him to the reservoir, the release says.
At Ruedi, which is about 14 miles above Basalt, they would take him out into the woods and let him starve to death, the release said.
According to police, the 15-year-old admitted he wanted the victim to suffer and said he had planned the crime for a month.
“I’ve never seen this level of planning for any crime, whether it’s an adult or a juvenile,” said Stu Curry, Basalt’s co-acting police chief, in April.
Hurlbert’s office handled the case because the alleged plot occurred in the Eagle County portion of the midvalley.