Teen slasher gets 7 years in boot camp

A prosecutor, the judge and possibly the victim and her family, didn’t believe that the “voices in his head” instructed a 14-year-old Montrose boy to slash the throat of a high school student last fall.

Michael Yates, now 15, couldn’t answer a question from Montrose County District Court Judge Jeff Herron why, after long being on medications for the voices, he chose to attack Montrose High School sophomore Mallory Haulman as she walked into school Nov. 11, 2008.

“I’m not sure, your honor,” Yates replied to the judge’s question, after a long pause
Thursday in court during his sentencing hearing.

According to terms of his first-degree attempted-murder guilty plea, Yates will spend the next seven years in a youth-
offender system, boot-camp type program run by the Colorado Department of Corrections. He will have to spend 18 years in prison if he violates terms of the youth-based system. Yates was given 190 days of pre-sentence confinement credit for the time he’s been housed in Grand Junction’s Grand Mesa Youth Services. He is required to pay the Haulmans $2,216 in restitution.

In a prepared statement read by a court official, the Haulmans said Yates is “getting better than you deserve” because it will be an opportunity for the boy to earn his GED and be a productive member of society when he’s out at 21, a path which he might not have stumbled upon if not for attacking Mallory.

“Mallory will always have a scar that she bears on her neck from ear to ear,” the statement said.

Assistant District Attorney Jerry Montgomery said he believed Yates made the decision to attack a student the night before and the decision was not, as Yates claimed, a result of not taking his medication one time.

“One missed dose wouldn’t do that,” Montgomery said.

Rather, Montgomery said, Yates’ fondness for listening to music by the violent rock band Insane Clown Posse, a connection to the Crips and links to a white supremacist group, were partially to blame.

“He arbitrarily picked two people, Meg and Mallory Haulman ... he got inside the school and slashed her throat, and according to the police report, basically turned around and walked off,” he said.

“Now we have two daughters who are suffering from this evil act. There’s been talk that there’s been a reason for this. There wasn’t.”

Yates grandfather, Hugh Yates, said that Michael was a good boy, who was working to become an Eagle Scout, and the attack was “totally out of character.”

Yates, also, dressed in a red polo shirt with his hands cuffed at his waist, stood to address the Haulman family, including Mallory. The family sat in the front row of the courtroom.

“I would just like to say that I know what I did was wrong, and I’m sorry,” he said, looking their way.

Yates’ attorney, public defender Harvey Palefsky said although his client committed a horrible act, he is not a horrible person. Palefsky offered that Yates was committed to a mental institution earlier in 2008 and was a victim of abuse for 10 years at the hands of his mother’s drug-addicted boyfriend.

“At times he said he was so hurt, he thought he would die,” Palefsky said of Yates.

“That’s no excuse, but this may have led him to do something like this ... There’s a good side to him, but obviously the dark side came out Nov. 11.”


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