May 7, 2010
The parents of a 14-year-old Colorado Springs boy accused of killing his brother and wounding their mother pleaded with a judge Friday to keep his case in juvenile court.
“I just want you to give my son a chance to get to a special hospital, not to go to jail,” Ulysses Gudino Sr. said at the end of a weeklong hearing on whether his son Daniel should be tried as an adult. The father vowed to do “whatever is necessary to help our son.”
Daniel Gudino is accused of shooting his 9-year-old brother, Ulysses Jr., to death and shooting and stabbing his mother, Marina, on May 18, 2009, in the family’s home at 1837 Chapel Hills Drive.
Marina Gudino told 4th Judicial District Judge David L. Shakes that her son should not be punished for their failure to recognize the seriousness of his symptoms. Doctors testified during the week that the boy suffered from sleep disorders, hallucinations and possibly a developing mental illness.
“There are two victims – Ulysses and Danielito,” she said. “We will take any classes or training necessary.”
After hearing nearly 40 hours of testimony, Shakes said he wanted to think about the case during the weekend before announcing his decision on Monday.
During the week, Gudino’s public defenders presented a family tree that showed several members of the Gudino family had a history of mental illness and sleep disorders. They cited the case of one relative who drowned while swimming in his sleep.
They also noted an incident two years ago in which Daniel Gudino aggressively chased his uncle and younger brother into a room while sleepwalking. They took cover in a bedroom while he pounded on the door shouting “Help me! Help me!”
Deputy Public Defender Norene Simpson called the case “my worst nightmare,” noting that if convicted in adult court, Gudino would be the youngest inmate in Colorado since 1893.
“This is not the 1800s. And this is a state that has had a juvenile court system for over 100 years,” she said. If that system can’t handle the case of a 13-year-old boy who had never gotten into trouble before, then “we have failed our community,” she said.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Shannon Gerhart asked Shakes to either try Gudino as an adult on second-degree murder, with a maximum sentence of 48 years, or try him in juvenile court on first-degree murder charges, with a maximum sentence of seven years.
When Shakes asked why prosecutors were seeking two different charges, Gerhart replied that a life sentence for first-degree murder in adult court was excessive. But a second-degree murder charge in juvenile court would carry only a five-year sentence.
“We want to have a longer jurisdiction over Daniel,” she said. “While life imprisonment might be too much, 3 to 5 years would not be enough.”
For more on this case, go to the Sidebar blog at Gazette.com.