As Jake Evans Trial Looms, Texas Has No Way to Punish 17-Year-old Capital Murderers

Categories: Crime, Legislature

jakeevans.jpg
In October of last year, at around 11:15 p.m., 17-year-old Jake Evans placed a 911 call from his upscale home in Aledo, a tony suburb just outside of Weatherford.

"It's weird," he said, his voice eerily calm as he spoke with the operator. "I wasn't even really angry with them. It just kind of happened. I've been kind of planning on killing for a while now."

According to his written confession, he knocked on sister Mallory's bedroom door and told her their mother had asked for her. He allegedly shot her in the head and in the back when she opened the door, then ran downstairs to the study, where he said he shot his mother, Jamie, three times. Evans says he began to empty the .22 revolver, but heard his 15-year-old sister's moans. He yelled out, "I'm sorry," returned to her bedroom and shot her once more.

"My plan was to kill my sister and my mom at my house and then go over to my grandparents and kill my oldest sister, Emily, and my two grandparents," he wrote. "Then I was going to wait until morning and kill my other sister, Audrey, because she was visiting from college."

He said he lost his taste for killing, though, as he watched his family die.

If convicted, Evans would obviously be the kind of killer best kept off the streets for a very, very long time. The law in Texas virtually assures this. Capital murder carries with it either a death sentence or life imprisonment without parole. And because Evans is 17, he can be charged as an adult. Yet in the eyes of the U.S. Supreme Court, he's a minor. Either punishment, the high court ruled, is unconstitutional.

This legal limbo for 17-year-old capital killers in Texas places courts in a precarious spot, because technically there is no legal punishment for them; prosecutors have no choice but to charge them with a lesser crime and risk putting them back on the streets. And a piece of legislation that would have addressed this constitutional gap in the criminal code failed to meet the legislature's deadline Tuesday night.

A bill proposed by state Senator Joan Huffman of Houston would have injected a little flexibility into state sentencing guidelines. It wouldn't apply retroactively to Evans' case, but it could establish a life sentence with the possibility of parole for capital offenders. At a January hearing, the judge declined to rule on whether Evans can be tried on charges for which no punishment exists. The case is set to go to trial July 22.

The Texas District and County Attorneys Association wants the issue resolved this session:



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21 comments
elaliser
elaliser

Am I the only one who is feeling the tiniest bit of saddness for this guy. Really, I do think there is something wrong with his families lives that made him do this. He says they fight a lot and say terrible things about eachother and how he "knows the way of the world" and how sad it is. I think something happened.


Really, the audio just sounds like he's in deep shock and he can't even comprehend what he did. I think he's just really messed up in the head.


He needs psychological help.

BrookeRod7881
BrookeRod7881

I'm ALL about punishment for those who deserve it, but there is something different about this kid. He was scared and polite and afraid. There is a lot more to this story alot but people only want the 5 sec clip to make him out to be as horrible as possible , instead of digging past the happy family pic's

lzippitydoo
lzippitydoo

Oh yea?? Wait til he gets to the eneral prison population. This killer may have thought about killing for a while - but propably didnt think about his future hubands! Death penalty is preferred, but he'll be well taken care of! Rehab? who cares - he lost his chance to decide anything.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Put him in a phone booth with the 4 who killed the 7-11 clerk, an throw in knives.

FEDUP
FEDUP

There's no Legal Punishment for them? Are ya f***king kidding me?  EXECUTE THE LITTLE SHIT. 

And liberals can sing Kumba F****ng ya over his dead cold body. CASE CLOSED. THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE  FOLKS!!!!

casiepierce
casiepierce

"And a piece of legislation that would have addressed this constitutional gap in the criminal code failed to meet the legislature's deadline Tuesday night."

Could be, maybe because our esteemed Lege is too busy with earth-shattering bills of such high import as the "Merry Christmas Bill" and the renaming of 75 for a few miles to GW Bush?

bealotcoolerifyoudid
bealotcoolerifyoudid

He can still get charged with 1st degree and be eligible for parole in about 2050.  I had a former student commit capital murder when he was 17, he is eligible for parole in 2041 for a crime committed in 2002 when he was 17.  Violent crimes usually don't get paroled the first time so tack on a few more years, he will be in his 60s if makes it through 4 decades of Texas prisons which is kind of doubtful. 

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

"My plan was to kill my sister and my mom at my house and then go over to my grandparents and kill my oldest sister, Emily, and my two grandparents," he wrote. "Then I was going to wait until morning and kill my other sister, Audrey, because she was visiting from college."

As long as this guy is alive these are others who will be in constant fear of him knocking on their own front doors .

I wonder what they think society should do to him to protect them  ?

 

 

 

 

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

Funny how you only see rich white kids killing their own families.  Poor people kill other people's families.

The good thing is that we kill them all back equally.

hcokiddtony
hcokiddtony

@BrookeRod7881  people that see him as a victim clearly have something wrong with their logical side of their brain. he premeditated the kills. and he didnt suffer from bullying or abuse as far as we can tell, only saying that he "sees how the world is". that is how many see the world and little to none have gone to the measures of murder, unless they themselves have experienced bullying, racism, etc. even mentally ill people who do something like this have some form of reasoning or momentary lack of judgement. it's called motivation, a reason for doing what they do. but honestly he didnt have any motivation. he was just curious about killing, not even remotely devoted to the idea like typical killers are. like i stated before, most killers either have a passion for killing, or some type of motivation or reasoning, whether it be anger or otherwise. but not jake. he exhibits little to no remorse, no emotion, and little to no guilt, just acts so calm like it didnt even happen. people saying he feels guilt need to reevaluate the recording. he didnt regret killing them. he just says he doesnt like the feeling of killing. he even chuckles a little during the call. if he was guilty in any form he wouldnt be as calm as he was. even mentally ill people either stick to their motivations or snap back to reality and show signs of regret, understanding, or anxiety. he didnt. he's the sickest person ive ever read about, and truly terrifying that a person with his brain can exist. even sick serial killers or mentally ill people have some expectancy and predictability in what and why they do what they do. if he doesnt get the death penalty for this, i will lose faith in all humankind for letting a despicable person like him walk the planet. he was old enough to know what he was doing. and the only reason people are so lax on him and feel pity for him is because he kept the murders in his own family. if he had killed strangers, this would be a different story. he should be dead dead dead. let god pity and judge him, just get this scum off the planet please. and mind you, studying psychology, many people never reach higher functioning cognitive and reasoning ability, and im starting to believe that the people who feel remorse for this guy are the ones that arent at that level of logical thinking...

icowrich
icowrich

@FEDUP We could do it, but only if we ignore article III of the Constitution.

BrookeRod7881
BrookeRod7881

I'm all for major punishment in cases like this. But there is a lot more to this one. And a whole lot of covering going on. He's not cold, he's scared. I just think that the system will dull out its punishment sooner than later, but it won't be what he really needs.

mairu88
mairu88

@hcokiddtony

@hcokiddtony

The night my mother passed away, (seizure, she fell and broke her neck) I had to make the phone call to 911. I had to talk my father through his attempts at CPR, and had to call our family and friends after the ambulance came.
I stood in the doorway of our home and asked the paramedics.. "She's dead, isn't she?" I had to keep my younger brother and sister calm while we waited for our Aunt to give us a ride to the hospital...  Mother was 35 and I was 15.

I can remember everything from that night, talking to the nurses and doctors about her family medical history, medications. Calling and talking to the rest of our family and friends and updating them when the doctors declared it.
 

The next morning. I can remember waking up and hearing my father, brother and sister sobbing on the fold-out couch in my aunt's living room.  I also remember how annoyed I as at those sounds, and I remember the morning conversation of niceties, over a breakfast of eggs and toast and tea, with my aunt and uncle.

Mother passed away on a Thursday and the funeral was Saturday. I remember being worried about what I was going to where to the funeral, finally settling on a red shirt my mother was always telling me that she liked me in, I wore it with a black skirt.

Saturday was when I started to snap; I fairly lost my mind to grief over the next several months. I finally got the psychological help I needed after I turned 16, over a year later.


Here's the thing though: I didn't murder anybody!  That was simply the effects on *me* from the shock and grief I felt over someone's passing. Someone close to me.  It took me several weeks to even cry over our loss, and several more months to come to terms with the fact that she wasn't coming back.

People handle shock and grief very differently, and at the beginning of both, there IS NO DIFFERENCE. Having experienced both, and at different times for different reasons, I feel 100% confident in asserting that.

IF this young man was in shock, then I can completely understand how he was able to speak so politely and coherently to the dispatcher. I know I was, as are most people.

Why is that? It is because dispatchers are  THE people we are told to turn to when we are in trouble, need help. The psychological effect starts as soon as we pick up the phone and push those buttons... 9-1-1. It doesn't surprise me in the least bit that the young man was.. at that time.. able to speak so well to the angel on the other end.

IF you had studied pyschology, then you would know about all of this, or ANY of this. If you had taken a second to proofread your comment, then you would have realised that you had outlined the EXACT reasons within what should have been your first paragraph, (if I counted sentences correctly, it's hard to tell with your lack of spacing after a period and the lack of capitalized words at the beginning of sentences) that would signal that Jake Evans has some form of mental disorder.

I'm sure some people may find your opinion to be informative, even if the reasons aren't the ones you hoped for.


hcokiddtony
hcokiddtony

@mairu88@hcokiddtonywhile i sympathize with you for your mothers passing, you clearly stated that you didn't murder anybody. while the effects/symptoms of shock or ptsd are common among people, that isn't to say that they can be used as an excuse for ones actions. case-in-point, the murder jake evans committed was premeditated, so it is not a good comparison for the ptsd or shock you experienced. like i stated, it is rare for someone who premeditates and acts out a murder to experience these same symptoms of ptsd or shock, and it is especially rare for someone to show remorse or guilt this way as well. it's been awhile now since the murders, and i cannot accurately judge the mental state of jake evans as I have no further information on such, but from the information I do have, he shows no immediate explainable reactions as far as I'm concerned. I'm only a sophomore in psychological studies, so I may not be a valid opinion on this regardless. either way, from what i've researched on him, and other murder/psychological cases that are similar, his is very distinctive and different which is why I remarked on his article.

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