Second boy suspected of conspiring in attack
Parents of a second suspect accused of conspiring in the attack of a Montrose High School student said their son was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Kim and Charlie Brown of Montrose listened Friday in Montrose County District Court as their 14-year-old son was ordered by a judge to be held without bond in the Grand Mesa Youth Services Center until formal charges could be filed seven days later in a Nov. 21 hearing.
The parents said their son, who is a student at Montrose High School, was seen walking away with the alleged assailant, who is accused of slitting the throat of 17-year-old Mallory Haulman as she entered the school Tuesday morning.
The Browns said their son happened upon his friend, not knowing his friend had just attacked another student.
“I don’t even really know why I’m here,” the boy said in court via speaker phone from the Grand Junction detention facility.
Montrose County District Attorney Myrl Serra told Montrose County District Judge Jeff Herron he needed a week to determine whether to file juvenile or adult charges against the boy. The boy is being held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, complicity to attempted first-degree murder and accessory to attempted first-degree murder. The boy was arrested just before 6 p.m. Thursday in the 14000 block of Marine Road.
Haulman’s alleged assailant, a 14-year-old boy who wasn’t a student at the school, hasn’t yet appeared in front of a judge for a detention hearing. Serra said that boy’s detention hearing will be next week, but he hasn’t decided yet what charges to file.
The alleged assailant is in police custody, but authorities declined to say where.
Haulman is recovering at her home after undergoing surgery to repair the deep cut to her throat.
The Browns said their son was heading to school Tuesday when he met the alleged assailant walking away from the building. The other boy asked the Browns’ son if he wanted to “ditch” classes that day, and their son agreed and began to walk away with the boy. It was then that the alleged assailant told the couple’s son what he had just done and showed him the knife, the Browns said. That’s when police moved in, arrested the alleged assailant and told the Browns’ son to stick around for questioning.
“He has known this kid since grade school, but he hadn’t seen him for seven or eight months,” Kim Brown said of her son’s relationship with the alleged assailant.
After their son was arrested, the Browns said, they were asked by police not to come down to the police station. The parents said it’s not even clear whether their son was interviewed.
The couple said Friday they are seeking an attorney.
“It’s like they’re almost fabricating a case,” Charlie Brown said.
Herron agreed with Serra’s statement that the Browns’ son should be held in custody because he is a “threat to society.”
Serra referenced a previous crime-of-violence case by the boy, but those charges were dismissed without prejudice, meaning the case can be revived.
Charlie Brown said his son faced charges after being overheard at the high school telling a friend that he wanted to bring a gun to school. The Browns said the comments were baseless, and the boys “were just talking smack to each other.”
Court criminal records for juveniles are not available to the public.
Documents outlining the alleged facts supporting the boys’ arrests should be available if they are charged as adults.
“It’s a whole different ball of wax,” Serra said of choosing to file charges for the boys as adults instead of juveniles. “I don’t care who says I have to rush. I’m not going to do it.”
Colorado Public Defender Paul Frinak said police can arrest a juvenile without a parent or an attorney present in an interview if the child has been advised of his or her rights. A child can be arrested without giving a statement to authorities.
However, Frinak said, “there are aspects of the juvenile system that make it harder to enforce their constitutional rights.”
“Sometimes I think they can get coerced into making statements they wouldn’t make if they were better advised,” he added.
Staff writer Mike Wiggins contributed to this report.