TOOELE — Attorneys are hammering out the details of a potential plea agreement for a now-17-year-old Utah boy accused of murdering his mother and three of his siblings last year.
Defense attorneys for Colin Jeffery “CJ” Haynie said Monday they have been speaking with the teenager and negotiating with prosecutors but need a bit more time.
“We believe we have an agreement with the state, we just need to work out the details of it,” attorney Rudy Bautista said in Tooele’s 3rd District Court. Attorney Richard Van Wagoner said he’ll lay out proposed terms for prosecutors this week.
Haynie is charged with fatally shooting his mother and siblings as they returned home in stages in Grantsville on Jan. 17, 2020. Prosecutors say he then tried to kill his father, who wrestled the gun away after being shot in the leg.
The teenager wore a black face mask and sat quietly during the brief hearing held Monday via videoconference. He is being held in a juvenile detention center on $4 million bail.
Tooele Chief Deputy County Attorney Gary Searle said that if the proposed deal comes to fruition, his office will honor the rights of the teenager and the victims, but will also prioritize community safety.
“The case is at a point where it could go in any direction,” Searle said after the hearing. “It could go to a plea agreement, it could go toward a preliminary hearing and move on to a trial. At this point there’s been no substantive hearing, so there’s no path we’re that definitely on. But as you heard in the hearing ... we’re working toward and hopefully going to reach a settlement agreement, a plea agreement.”
The teenager faces four counts of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, in the deaths of his mother, Consuelo Alejandra Haynie, 52; sisters Alexis Haynie, 15, and Milan Haynie, 12; and brother Matthew Haynie, 14. He has not yet entered any pleas.
Haynie is charged with an additional count of attempted aggravated murder tied to his father’s injuries and five counts of discharge of a firearm, all first-degree felonies. If convicted, he faces at least 25 years in prison.
Under Utah law, those who were minors at the time of an offense aren’t eligible for the death penalty or for a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. The toughest penalty they can face is 25 years and up to life in prison.
Contributing: Paul Nelson