Two Washington State boys who were a little over 12 years old when they were accused of murder are about to go on trial as adults. The Seattle Times says that Evan Savoie and Jake Eakin are charged with killing Craig Sorger, 13, who was found under a tree in Ephrata, Wa., his body clubbed and covered with three dozen cuts and stab wounds. In March, a Grant County judge ruled that the case should be sent to adult court, making the boys the youngest murder suspects charged as adults in state history. They could be sentenced to 25 years in prison; if convicted as juveniles, the boys would be free at age 21.
Washington State law says a child under 8 is presumed incapable of committing a crime. If a child is between 8 and 12, the youngster is presumed incapable of understanding an act was wrong unless prosecutors can prove otherwise. Just 13 people age 14 or younger at the time of the offense have been convicted as adults of murder since 1987.
Eakin and Savoie have declared innocence since being arrested in February 2003, saying that Sorger fell out of a tree. Convinced they’re being railroaded by poor police work, their families are soliciting legal and investigative help on national TV shows.
Prosecutors and police in the farming community of 6,800 say they have the right defendants. And all the attention on the boys’ ages, said Ephrata Police Chief Joe Varick, obscures the crime itself. “They can cry all they want about the age of the defendants, but this was an extremely brutal murder,” Varick said. “No one should lose sight of that.”