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Judge: Teen suspect in Hudson case stays an 'adult'

Oct 25, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

Charges against the youngest defendant in the Hudson double-homicide case will proceed to District Court after a judge this week denied a request to transfer the case to juvenile court.

"Judge Tyler's decision made it clear the motion filed by the defendant was denied," Fremont County Attorney Brian Varn said in an interview Thursday morning.

Varn said he was informed about Judge Marvin L. Tyler's decision Wednesday afternoon concerning Jude Blackburn, 16, of Riverton.

A document of the decision was unavailable Thursday.

"Given the magnitude of the crime and what has been accused, despite his age, we are pleased with the opportunity to show what happened that night," Varn said.

One of five

The teen is one of five suspects charged in the Nov. 15, 2011 murders of Eric Clinton Likes, 42, and his girlfriend Elva Charlotte Quiver, 20, at Likes's trailer house in Hudson. Allegations also include a subsequent robbery and arson at the residence.

Prosecutors charged Blackburn as an adult. He 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.

Public defenders Jamie M. Woolsey of Casper and Robert L. Stepans of Jackson filed the transfer motion in April.

In their motion, Woolsey and Stepans cited their client's age as one of the reasons for the requested transfer. Blackburn was 15 years old at the time of the crimes.

Rehabilitation

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

District Court Judge Norman E. Young granted a continuance for Blackburn's May 10

arraignment until a decision was rendered on the motion to transfer the case to juvenile court.

Young also ordered Judge Tyler to preside over and determine the motion to transfer.

Tyler held a full day of court in August to hear the request. Proceedings were held behind closed doors given Blackburn's age.

"This was a difficult case," Varn said, adding that the defense did a "spectacular job."

"The judge had a hard decision to make," Varn continued. "It doesn't mean we will win at trial, it just means we have the opportunity to tell the full story on what happened."

He also commended his two deputy attorneys Patrick LeBrun and Ember Oakley.

"They were equally engaged in refuting the defense and did a spectacular job keeping their eye on the ball," he said. "I am proud of the skills and professionalism they showed. This was a hard case for the court, and I think they did a really good job."

Varn said the next step is for his office to file a motion for Blackburn to be arraigned in District Court so the case can be put back on the trial stack.

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