Aza Vindinhar was 15-years-old at the time when he was arrested for stabbing his two younger brothers to death. His attorneys have been fighting the charges in the juvenile system. A mental competency hearing was scheduled next week. But Wednesday that became irrelevant after the teen entered a guilty plea in juvenile court.
"Do you understand you can go to prison?" Judge Janice Frost asked the teen.
He nodded in a yes manner.
Under the terms of the plea bargain, the teen pleaded guilty to one count of murdering his younger brother. Judge Frost sentenced the teen to a juvenile detention facility until he turns 21-years.
On the second murder charge the teen was taken to the adult court where he entered a guilty plea a second time.
Judge David Frost: "To that charge how do you plea?"
Judge: "A guilty plea will be received."
His mother was tearful as she watched her son enter his pleas. They were ushered in through a back door refusing comment. But the teen's attorney says they were on board with the plea deal.
"It's a tough day for him,” says Todd Utzinger, his attorney. "He didn't want his family to go through any of the hearings and I think he's made good progress in trying to grasp what he's done."
Utzinger had fought to keep the case in juvenile court. A mental competency evaluation was scheduled next week prior to the judge making a ruling whether to keep the case in the juvenile system. But that ended with Wednesday's plea bargains. The teen's attorney says the plea deal allows the teen to remain in the juvenile system for a few years.
"It would be inhumane for any 15 or 16-year-old child to go straight to the prison without first having the opportunity for treatment and rehabilitation," says Utzinger.
Under the agreement the teen would not step into an adult prison until after he serves out his juvenile sentence. Utzinger says the teen will get credit for the time served in juvenile detention. The time could amount to six years. Once he turns 21-years old, Vindinhar will return to district court to be sentenced for the second murder. That carries a 15-to-life prison sentence.
“It's not a happy day for anybody,” says Utzinger. “It's a somber day.”
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