CO Teen Parent Killers: Life In Prison, No Rehab


Nathan Ybanez, 15, of Douglas County, CO, told the sheriff’s office in 1997 that he could not live with his abusive parents. The Denver Post says a deputy returned him to his mother, who he beat and strangled to death eight months later. Ybanez was convicted and sentenced to prison for life without a chance of parole. Jurors “never heard scientific research or expert testimony that could have shown he fits the profile of a battered kid whose inner turmoil reached a flash point,” the Post says in the third article in a series. At least four teenagers in Colorado have been sent away for life without parole in connection with a parent killing in the past 15 years.

Colorado’s mandatory life-without-parole sentence for murder, coupled with broad discretionary powers for prosecutors to charge juveniles as adults, increases the chances that a parent killer will be put behind bars without rehabilitation, said Mary Ellen Johnson of The Pendulum Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group trying to scale back Colorado’s stiff adult penalties for juveniles. Yet, “many of these kids have proven they can be rehabilitated,” she said.


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