Juvenile justice organization not happy with Stoneman plea bargain
Pendulum Juvenile Justice, a Colorado Springs-based juvenile justice reform organization, recently stated its disappointment with the plea bargain reached in the case of Eric Stoneman, 14, charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Taylor DeMarco, 9, in Battlement Mesa on July 20.
“The district attorney should never have filed on him as an adult to begin with,” said Paul Rosenthal, executive director of Pendulum Juvenile Justice. “That made it necessary to give him some sort of ‘adult’ sentence. The case could have been handled in a juvenile court, thereby only making it possible to send him to a juvenile facility, which is more appropriate given the circumstances.”
Stoneman pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter on Thursday, Dec. 22. He was sentenced to 10 years, part of which will be served in a juvenile facility until he is 18 when he will transfer to state prison.
“(After his 18th birthday) he will then be transferred to an adult prison for six years,” Rosenthal said. “The sentences do not make sense ” adult prison will unravel all the counseling, development, and education Eric receives in the juvenile facility. After juvenile incarceration he should have gone to college to get a criminology degree, not to prison to learn how to become a criminal. Society would have been better off if he had he not been sentenced to an adult prison.”
Rosenthal said there are sentencing alternatives for juvenile offenders such as Stoneman.
“Texas sends most of its serious juvenile cases to a juvenile facility at Giddings State School, near Austin. Colorado, on the other hand, sends these types of cases to an adult prison.
“This was a tragic accident ” the pain and sorrow must be immeasurable for both the DeMarco and Stoneman families.”
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