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Judge: Youngest Hudson suspect OK to stand trial as adult
Sep 17, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer
A district court judge ruled that the youngest defendant in the Hudson homicides case can be tried as an adult, Fremont County Attorney Michael Bennett announced on Sept. 16. The decision came after an Aug. 28 hearing on whether Jude Blackburn would continue in juvenile court.
Details of the hearing and the resulting order are all treated as part of juvenile case and are unavailable to the public.
"The state's position is Mr. Blackburn should be tried as an adult," County Attorney Michael Bennett said.
"Now we will be able to proceed forward as an adult."
Blackburn will next have an arraignment in Wyoming's Ninth District Court in Lander, but the date is not set yet.
Prosecutors charged Blackburn in the Nov. 15, 2011, slayings of Eric Likes, 42, and Elva Charlotte Quiver, 20, both of Hudson, and the burning of their trailer two days later.
Prosecutors allege Blackburn hit Likes in the head twice with a dresser drawer as the Hudson man, already stabbed multiple times, lay in the hallway of his Hudson home.
Blackburn faces one 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.
Prosecutors were successful in another hearing earlier this summer that could have caused a delay in trying Blackburn. District Court Judge for Fremont County Norman E. Young on Aug. 7 decided the teen was fit to stand trial after a nine-hour hearing on the question.
If the court found him unfit, Blackburn would have received education and therapy to rehabilitate him, a process that could take months or years.
Blackburn's alleged accomplices already have settled their cases. Laziur Stephen Hanway Jr., of Ethete, was sentenced in March to two concurrent life in prison sentences after pleading guilty to two second-degree murder charges.
In May, Joseph Jude Jenkins, of Arapahoe, received 70 years for his role in the murders, and his wife, Samantha June Hanway, of Arapahoe, will spend 25 to 50 years in prison for her part.
Ryan Blake Hanway, of Riverton, agreed to a plea deal and in May was sentenced to eight to 16 years in prison.