Boy, 14, gets decision-making lesson after burglary hearing
A 14-year-old boy from Aspen who reportedly burglarized an apartment under an older friend’s influence was sentenced to a year’s probation this week.
The boy, whose name is being withheld because he is a minor, admitted breaking into an apartment occupied by a “friend” of the older man, on a mission to get some prescription drugs.
The sentence was handed down by District Judge J.E. DeVilbiss, who said he is acquainted with the older man and could easily believe he could influence his young friend. He at one point called the older friend “a very manipulative young man. I suspect he could talk the Pope into taking a wife, if he had the time.”
According to statements made at a court hearing Monday, the 14-year-old and his friend had been hanging out together for some time, and both knew they were about to leave town.
The young man was moving to Hawaii to attend a “very strict … very regimented” preparatory school. His friend, who has a criminal record with local police, was being shipped off to live in New Mexico and stay out of trouble, according to prosecutor Lawson Wills.
“This was a last hurrah for these two,” Wills said, adding that the older of the two had been buying drugs from the burglary victim and felt he had been overcharged. In retaliation, Wills said, the pair headed for the apartment when they knew it would be empty, and the 14-year-old broke in by pushing in a screen and climbing in a window.
When police caught the two, though, the drugs were found only on the older suspect. The 14-year-old’s mother told DeVilbiss that her son is “not the pill-taking type,” although he was caught carrying some pot and some drug paraphernalia, according to the court.
And the boy’s attorney produced recent school records that showed his grades are improving and that his teachers are impressed with his potential.
“I did make the dumbest decision that I think I’ve ever made,” the boy told the judge, adding that he “takes responsibility” for his acts and wants to “repay society” for the damage he caused.
“I don’t think you have to repay society, you just need to make better decisions,” replied the judge, sentencing the boy to a year of probation and ordering him to do 40 hours of community service either in Aspen or in Hawaii.
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Colorado has been hit with a substantial spike in COVID-19 cases, with one in 41 residents believed to be contagious. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, warned during a virtual news conference that Colorado is not alone in seeing a spike in cases and pleaded with people not to travel or gather in large groups.