Unmoved: Judge slams I-64 teen
He was cooperative, remorseful, and willing to seek treatment, according to testimony. So a probation supervisor, the defense, and Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Darby Lowe, left, recommended that the Crozet 16-year-old charged with shooting at cars on Interstate 64 be kept close to home for just six more months at the Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention Center, where he's said to be a "model detainee." But their pleas failed to move Judge Susan Whitlock, who sentenced the youth to a far grimmer fate with the state's Department of Juvenile Justice– with no release date in sight.
"Because of the number of charges and the violent nature of those charges, the court believes incarceration to the juvenile justice system advisable," Whitlock said today in Charlottesville Albemarle Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
The boy's mother, earlier so hopeful, appeared crestfallen that her son would not do his time close to the family and friends who have regularly appeared in court with her.
Two months to the day after the youth was arrested at Yonder Hills Farm for his role in the March 27 shooting spree with Gremlin-driving Slade Woodson, 19, the court ruled that remorse and restitution didn't diminish the fact that the two teens fired bullets into numerous occupied vehicles and homes.
The former Western Albemarle High student originally was charged with 15 counts in Albemarle. Two more in Waynesboro were transferred to Albemarle. As part of his guilty plea, he was sentenced today for just seven charges, but Whitlock's action means he could remain incarcerated until he's 21.
"We're surprised," said the boy's attorney, Dana Slater, noting that defense has 10 days to decide whether to appeal the court's decision to Circuit Court.
"There's no certainties when you appeal," said Slater, who added, "An indeterminate commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice is about the worst you can get."
Family support was one of the reasons Barbara Ferrier, probation supervisor with the 16th District Court Services Unit, had recommended Blue Ridge Detention's 180-day program. She also suggested a suspended sentence, supervised probation, and restitution to the victims.
The boy "has in meetings with me expressed tremendous remorse and acknowledged responsibility," Ferrier said.
Because Judge Whitlock sentenced the teen to the state, the Department of Juvenile Justice will determine where he goes and for how long.