A Basalt teenager was sentenced Thursday to three to five years in the state division of youth corrections for plotting to beat another teen and leave him to die in the wilderness near Ruedi Reservoir.
The boy, 15, was remorseful and took responsibility for his actions in Eagle County juvenile court, said prosecutor Joe Kirwan.
His attorney, Terrence O’Connor of Edwards, said his client was given credit for roughly 264 days of time served.
The teen has been in the Mount View Youth Services Center in Denver since he was arrested in April, and he appeared by phone for Thursday’s hearing after authorities mishandled the orders to transport him to Eagle, O’Connor said.
The boy was 14 and a sophomore at Basalt High when he plotted with another youth, then 17, to beat the other boy. He told police that he had a beef with the potential victim related to drug dealing and a girl, Basalt police Sgt. Stu Curry said in April.
They planned to lure the boy to Basalt’s Arbaney Park, where they intended to beat the teen with baseball bats until he was incapacitated, tie him up with duct tape and drive up to Ruedi Reservoir.
There, they would “take him out into the woods and let him starve to death,” says a police press release. “The juvenile suspect admitted he wanted the victim to suffer [and] admitted to planning this for the last four weeks.”
“I’ve never seen this level of planning for any crime, whether it’s an adult or a juvenile,” Curry said at the time.
Parents of some teens peripherally involved found a diagram of the assault plan drawn by the then 14-year-old. They contacted police, thinking it involved a drug deal. Another juvenile told Brian Lemke, the Basalt Police Department’s school resource officer, about the kidnapping plot.
The two teens, who were the only ones arrested for the plot, were initially charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree kidnapping.
Those counts were dropped after each pleaded guilty to felony attempted kidnapping. The other youth, described by authorities as the main accomplice, has since turned 18 and may have been deported for being in the country illegally, O’Connor said. He pleaded guilty Oct. 10, was given credit for six months of time served and sentenced to probation.
The 15-year-old’s sentence was part of the plea agreement reached between O’Connor and Kirwan’s predecessor in the 5th Judicial District, Kirwan said.
In Thursday’s hearing, the teen’s “comments were appropriate,” he said.
O’Connor said his client was anxious to be sentenced because he wants to move forward.
“I think he understood the seriousness of his case,” he said. “He didn’t seem like a bad-ass kid.”
O’Connor said programs in the youth corrections system that he believes will help the youth were not available until he had been sentenced.
“He didn’t want to push [sentencing] out further,” he said.