Trial delayed for boys accused of plotting to kill classmates

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Attorneys for two teens accused of plotting a killing spree say the case is being blown out of proportion.

The trial was supposed to begin Monday, but a judge postponed it because of some new evidence the teens' attorneys just found out about. But it's a still missing piece of evidence, they say, that weakens the state's case. The missing piece of evidence is the police interview with one of the teens.

The trial was postponed, but the judge did hear testimony Monday from the Murray police detective who interviewed both teens after their arrests.

He taped the interview with one teen, but says he didn't realize the second interview was not being recorded. He says the DVD must have been full.

Attorneys for both teens say that's a big problem for two reasons:

  1. Evidence wasn't gathered correctly.
  2. It's not known if the teen was properly read his Miranda rights.

In court, prosecutors played a portion of the police interview that was recorded.

Defense attorneys questioned whether the teen was fully aware of his rights before he agreed to talk. They say when it comes to juveniles, extra steps need to be taken to make sure they understand their rights.

Sam Pappas, attorney for the 15-year-old said, "This officer gave a partial Miranda warning to my client while attempting to get him to waive his rights."

"And these kids don't have any capacity to do anything," said Thomas Burton, attorney for the 14-year-old. "They have no money. They don't even have cell phones, so this is total fiction."

In March, the mother of the 15-year-old boy called police after she listened in on a phone call between him and his 14-year-old friend. She heard them talk about kidnapping and torturing three people on a hit list.

The teens' attorneys say the state is basing its case on the boys' statements and the only evidence it has is a stick police found at one of the teens' homes.

The defense asked for more time to review a video that may show the arrest of one of the teens.

The trial is set to begin May 21.


Story compiled with contributions from Mary Richards and Sandra Yi.

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