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State high court to hear appeal by Hudson teen

Dec 13, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

The Wyoming Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal filed by the youngest defendant in the Hudson double homicide case who prosecutors are trying as an adult.

Ninth Judicial District Court Judge Marvin L. Tyler in October denied a request for the case against Jude Blackburn, 16, of Riverton, to transfer to juvenile court. An order granting the writ of review, which is issued from an appellate court for review of records of lower court proceedings, was filed on Dec. 4 and signed by Chief Justice Marilyn S. Kite.

Blackburn was 15 at the time of the crime.

"After a careful review of the petition and the file, this Court finds that the petition should be granted," the order states.

"It simply means they are willing to hear the appeal, meaning they may see some interesting facts or law they want to see argued," Fremont County Attorney Brian Varn said.

The Wyoming Public Defenders Office filed the petition on behalf of Blackburn on Nov. 7. Staff from the office declined releasing the petition since it deals with a juvenile.

Blackburn's attorneys and state prosecutors have 45 days after the order was granted to file briefs concerning the appeal.

Blackburn is charged with 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.

He is one of five co-defendants charged in the Nov. 15, 2011, stabbing deaths of Eric Clinton Likes, 42, and his girlfriend, Elva Charlotte Quiver, 20, at Likes's rented trailer house in Hudson.

The couple's bodies were discovered by firefighters who responded to a blaze at the residence two days after the murders.

Some of the suspects also face charges for the subsequent robbery and arson at the scene.

Varn said Blackburn has since pleaded not guilty by mental illness. He said because Blackburn is a juvenile, his file will likely remain sealed until trial.

"Blackburn is well within his rights to pursue this avenue and, frankly, it was not unexpected," Varn said about the appeal.

"Between the not guilty by mental illness and the appeal, his case will slow to nearly a standstill till they are resolved."

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