His feet and hands shackled, he waddled into the courtroom and sat alone at the defense table.
With his short-cropped hair and pudgy face, he looked much like any other 11-year-old boy. But unlike most children his age, he is charged with attempted murder, attempted rape, attempted aggravated kidnapping, burglary and theft."We definitely feel he's a risk to society and shouldn't be released at this time," said the prosecutor, who usually saves such harsh words for suspects much older than this youth.
But the allegations against the 11-year-old aren't very common even among adults. According to Pleasant Grove police, the boy and his 14-year-old foster brother burglarized the home of an 81-year-old woman with Alzheimer's disease and tried to rape and kill her.
"In their own words they told us that they planned on killing the woman if it was necessary to carry out the rape," Pleasant Grove detective Cody Cullimore said.
The two boys were under state care and living in a foster home in the elderly woman's neighborhood when they tried to befriend her, Cullimore said. On July 7, the two boys allegedly went to the woman's home and fondled her against her will. The woman, who lives alone, did not report the incident to police.
On July 10, at about 10:30 p.m., the boys broke into the woman's home and attacked her in her sleep, the detective said. The 14-year-old allegedly held the woman down and tried to remove her clothes. When the woman resisted, he began choking her.
"He said he quit choking her only because his hands began to hurt," Cullimore said.
Eventually, the boys gave up on raping and killing the woman, stole some items from her home and fled, the detective said.
Police believe the 14-year-old was the leader in the crimes but say the 11-year-old played an active role. Once during the attack, the woman yelled to another room for her son to grab a gun and to come "kill the boys." The older boy became scared and ran out of the house. The younger boy, however, was convinced the woman was alone and talked the older boy into coming back inside.
"He said he wanted to have his turn with the woman," Cullimore said.
While being interviewed by police, Cullimore said, the boys also confessed to scheming to kidnap, rape and kill a 16-year-old girl who lives near the foster home.
The 14-year-old was arraigned Friday in 4th District Juvenile Court and is being held in the Provo Detention Center. The Utah County attorney's office filed a petition to have him certified to stand trial as an adult. Judge Kay Lindsay appointed an attorney to represent the boy and ordered an evaluation to determine if he is mentally competent to proceed with the court process.
While there may be options for the older boy, nearly everyone involved in the case is wondering what the system will offer the 11-year-old. Youth Corrections isn't equipped to handle offenders so young. According to law, juveniles under 13 can't be sentenced to Youth Corrections.
The 11-year-old is being held in the Salt Lake Detention Center.
"In here they kind of lose their defenses . . . some of their baggage they have on the outside, so he's probably not dangerous," said Anne Nelson, of the Salt Lake Detention Center. "The scary thing is that at 11 he's prone to be influenced by others."