The Associated Press
ARTHUR H. ROTSTEIN
The Associated Press
BISBEE – A 13-year-old Douglas boy was sentenced Friday to at least four years in juvenile corrections custody for shooting his mother to death.
Cochise County Superior Court Judge James Conlogue had found the boy guilty earlier this month.
The judge ruled that prosecutors had proven the boy acted intentionally and with premeditation when he shot his mother, 34-year-old Sara Madrid, eight times on Aug. 1.
Although the judge sentenced the boy Friday to at least four years in custody, his written order said the boy would be committed until age 18.
Conlogue later told Court Clerk James Giacomino that he would issue an order Monday clarifying “conflicting issues” related to the sentencing.
The clerk said he couldn’t comment further.
According to court testimony, the woman left the home briefly, and the boy took a .22-caliber pistol from her closet and waited for her to return, then shot her after they had argued over his chores.
The boy, who was 12 at the time of the shooting, has not been identified because of his juvenile status.
Alfonso Munoz, Madrid’s live-in boyfriend of 10 years, saw the shooting and said the boy gave him the empty gun after the shooting. Munoz, who had raised the boy, said he had taught him how to load and fire the pistol and instructed him to use guns only in an emergency and in self-defense.
Cochise County Deputy Public Defender Sanford Edelman had argued during the Jan. 2 hearing that the boy did not intend to kill her but rather just get back at her for abusing him. The boy had told police his mother yelled at him and sometimes slapped him.
Chief Criminal Deputy County Attorney Doyle Johnstun, who did not prosecute the case, said the county attorney’s office and the boy’s lawyer had presented information to Conlogue to use in deciding the sentence.
Some relatives provided information suggesting that Madrid may have been orally abusive to her son, Johnstun said. At the earlier hearing, the boy’s aunt, Ernestine Huitron, testified that Madrid, her sister, did not want the boy to live with her, had a temper and yelled at him.
Huitron said, “He is a docile, sweet boy. Sara said (the boy) was stupid and dumb.”
On Friday, Dr. Judith Becker, a psychologist called by Edelman, told Conlogue that the boy should be sent to a treatment facility, not the state Department of Juvenile Corrections.
Conlogue found that the boy’s age didn’t relieve him from responsibility.
On Friday, Conlogue’s written “secure care” order said the boy would be placed in 24-hour continuous confinement at a secure facility until age 17.
Because the judge earlier decided to try the boy as a juvenile, the maximum possible sentence under Arizona law would be a juvenile corrections commitment until he turns 18. The boy turned 13 on Sunday.
Juvenile corrections officials will conduct an analysis of his needs prior to any treatment, including psychiatric or psychological therapy, according to Johnstun.
“Obviously, it’s a huge tragedy for the victim and for the boy and the family,” he said.
Johnstun said he was told that the boy had had minimal interaction with his biological father.