Father of teen sentenced to up to 15 years in prison speaks out

- SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) -- The story of Cooper Van Huizen, a South Ogden 16-year-old who was sent to prison for one to 15 years after pleading guilty to robbery charges, has gotten worldwide attention.

In November, Cooper took two unloaded guns from the house of his father, Marc Van Huizen, and, along with a group of other teens, robbed a Roy house at gunpoint demanding money, cell phones and a stash of marijuana. Cooper was the youngest of the group.

Cooper has admitted his judgement was clouded by pot but he also claims he never pointed a gun at anyone. The teen, who has no prior criminal record, was arrested with the others and the Weber County Attorney's Office later charged Cooper as an adult for aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary.

Cooper's attorney later worked out a plea deal in which he would plead guilty to two lesser second-degree felonies and would likely serve 180 days in jail. But on the day Cooper entered his guilty plea, the judge rejected the deal and instead sent the 16-year-old to prison for 1 to 15 years. He was put alone in a maximum security cell in the same block as two convicted killers. Two other teens involved in the robbery were sentenced to 180- and 210-day jail sentences with no prison time.

Marc Van Huizen spoke Sunday with Good 4 Utah's Randall Carlisle. Click the video above for more.

The family has also set up a Facebook page called "Help Support Cooper Van Huizen."

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