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Judge asked to move teen Hudson suspect's case to juvenile court

May 10, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

Attorneys for the youngest defendant in the Hudson double homicide prosecution have asked a judge to transfer proceedings to juvenile court and to hold a private hearing to review the request.

Jamie M. Woolsey of Casper and Robert L. Stepans of Jackson filed both motions April 24 in Lander's District Court on behalf of Jude Blackburn, 15, of Riverton.

Blackburn is charged as an adult for the Nov. 15 killings of Eric Clinton Likes, 42, and his girlfriend, Elva Charlotte Quiver, 20.

He is one of five co-defendants in the alleged double murder and subsequent robbery and arson at the couple's home in Hudson last November.

Specifically, Blackburn faces a count of first-degree arson and two counts each of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery.

Charges against Blackburn were bound over to Lander District Court during a preliminary hearing in March. During the hearing, prosecutors argued Blackburn smashed Likes in the head twice with a dresser drawer, as the Hudson man, already stabbed multiple times, lay in his hallway fighting for life.

In their motion, Woolsey and Stepans cite Blackburn's age as one of the reasons for the requested transfer.

They also assert there to be a "reasonable likelihood" Blackburn could be rehabilitated by use of procedures, services and facilities that are only available to juvenile court.

"It would be in the interests of the child and promote the protection of the public and public safety for the juvenile court to provide training, treatment and rehabilitation to the Defendant in order to assist him in becoming a functioning and contributing adult," the motion states.

According to the motion to exclude the public from witnessing the hearing on transferring the case to juvenile court, Woolsey and Stepans also requested an order sealing any pleadings, orders, records, transcripts or other evidence present at the hearing.

"The general public is to be excluded from hearings under the Juvenile Justice Act," the motion reads. "To this end, this statute limits the attendance at hearings under the Act to the parties, counsel for the parties, witnesses, jurors, victims and members of their immediate families, and other persons the court finds having a proper interest in the proceedings."

Woolsey and Stepans believe the exclusion would be in "recognition of the sensitive nature of issues" brought before the court and would protect Blackburn's best interests.

The two are asking the court to consider their client's maturity, home life, environmental situation, emotional attitude, education and juvenile records.

District Court Judge Norman E. Young granted a continuance for Blackburn's arraignment, which was scheduled for May 10, until a decision is rendered on the motion to transfer the case to juvenile court.

Young also ordered District Court Judge Marvin L. Tyler to preside over and determine the motion to transfer.

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