Teen girl pleads guilty to killing foster mother

A 15-year-old Mesa County girl pleaded guilty this morning to murdering her foster mother earlier this year, and will spend at least the next six years in a juvenile detention facility.

Stephanie Hauck, who was 14 when she used a serving fork to repeatedly stab 61-year-old Linda Smith in February, has been sentenced to a total of 10 years in the Colorado Division of Youth Services after pleading guilty to second-degree murder and second-degree assault, as well as sentence-enhancing counts.

While Smith was stabbed multiple times, the Mesa County coroner has told investigators that “medical frailty” might have contributed to the woman’s death, as none of the puncture wounds directly caused serious injury, according to earlier reports.

The juvenile detention system will lose jurisdiction over Hauck when she turns 21. Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein said when she is 20 ½ years old, she will likely have a hearing before a district judge, who will then determine how to handle the rest of her sentence.

Hauck is pleading to the charge as a juvenile, despite the prosecution’s moves earlier this year to ask a judge that the teen be charged as an adult. Rubinstein said in an interview that while his office still has concerns about Hauck committing future crimes, he and Chief Deputy District Attorney Trish Mahre believe juvenile detention is the best setting for Hauck, and the sentence is the best option available.

See Friday’s Daily Sentinel for the full story.


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