MOAB (AP) — A Moab teenager who prosecutors say helped get rid of the body of his friend's mother's boyfriend was sentenced Monday to the highest-security juvenile detention facility.
A juvenile court judge delivered the sentence to Charles Anthony Nelson, 17, following a psychological assessment, said Grand County Attorney Andrew Fitzgerald. A probation board will determine whether he will stay behind bars until he turns 21 or gets out earlier.
Nelson will likely spend less time locked up than his friend, Brody Blu Kruckenberg, 17, who confessed to the March 25 killing of Gregorio Salazar Campos.
Prosecutors initially believed Nelson shot Campos three times in the head on March 25 in Moab because Nelson was bragging about pulling the trigger to friends. But detectives later learned it was Kruckenberg who shot Campos.
Campos was dating Kruckenberg's mother.
Prosecutors believe rival drug dealers of the victim pressured Kruckenberg into the killing. Fitzgerald said they spotted a troubled and impressionable young man who shared their disdain for Campos. The adults owed Campos money and were upset that he was lacing the drugs he sold with chemicals that were making people sick, Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald said on Monday that prosecutors still expect to file charges against the three to four adults for their role in influencing Kruckenberg.
After shooting Campos, who was asleep in Kruckenberg's mother's bed, Campos' body was driven to the banks of the Colorado River, then tied to a metal bumper and thrown in the water, police said.
While surveillance video shows Nelson and Kruckenberg buying rope and Nelson did help in eliminating some evidence, Fitzgerald said Nelson wasn't actually there when Campos' body was dropped in the river. But Nelson had helped Kruckenberg scout out potential locations.
In July, Kruckenberg pleaded guilty to manslaughter and obstruction of justice, second-degree felonies, after his case was moved to juvenile court from adult court. He was sentenced to high-security juvenile detention until he turns 21.
Nelson pleaded guilty in juvenile court that same day to obstruction of justice. Kruckenberg's mother, Corina Dawn Yardley, 44, pleaded guilty to two counts of obstructing justice in July. She was sentenced to 90 days in jail.