Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Monte teen who killed parents gets 22 years

John Caudle, 16, to serve time in adult prison system.DEL NORTE — John Caudle, the Monte Vista teenager who shot and killed his mother and stepfather in 2009, was sentenced Tuesday to 22 years in prison.
  The rail-thin 16-year-old, who suffered lifelong abuse at the hands of his mother, Joanne Rinebarger, and bided his time until he could kill her and his stepfather, Tracy Rinebarger, will serve his sentence in the adult prison system.
  Prosecutors and Caudle's attorneys struck an agreement over the terms of the sentence Tuesday morning and District Judge Martin Gonzales agreed to follow it.
  Caudle was sentenced to 22 years in prison for second-degree murder in the slaying of his stepfather, Tracy Rinebarger, who came home Oct. 26, 2009, and was shot twice by the boy. He had been hiding in the laundry room of their home outside Monte Vista.
  Caudle also was sentenced to six years on a count of reckless manslaughter in the death of his mother, whom he shot nine times following an argument earlier the same day.
  Both sentences are to be served concurrently.
  In closing remarks, the judge said the punishment was appropriate since Caudle deserved the same fate as offenders who committed similar crimes.
  It also would serve as a deterrent to other crime, he said.
  He told Caudle that he could be rehabilitated in prison and one day become a force for good in the community.
  "Even in prison, that is a choice you can make," he said.
  But Gonzales doubted he could make any sense of the killings for the families of Joanne and Tracy Rinebarger who sat on opposite sides of the courtroom.
  Despite the early morning agreement, the court heard the testimony of Cecile Dinsmore, an Arkansas woman who came to know Joanne Rinebarger through a mentoring program in that state.
  Dinsmore said Rinebarger, who became pregnant as a teenager with Caudle, never loved her son and came to exercise the same psychological control over him as a Nazi prison guard.
  "She neglected to love him," she said. "Even animals seem to be more caring than she was."
  She said Rinebarger denied Caudle medicine for a childhood illness that caused him to lose control over his bowels.
  Moreover, she made Caudle, then 4, clean his soiled pants.
  She also recalled Caudle telling her one day that he had not been fed in two days.
  Dinsmore said she was not surprised when Caudle later told her he did not believe in God.
  "He has not felt the love of God in a long time," she said.
  Dinsmore joined Caudle's Public Defender Dan Walzl, in criticizing District Attorney David Mahonee for charging the boy as an adult.
  "There's no justice in what's going to happen to John now," she said.
  Walzl added following the proceedings that the prosecution never asked why Caudle committed those crimes.
  "In my opinion, the system did fail," he said.
  But prosecutor Dan Edwards reminded the gallery with his closing statement that Caudle had planned the killings by stowing away two pistols from the family gun safe two days prior to the crime.
  He recounted the evening of the killings, when after Joanne Rinebarger ordered Caudle to pour her a soda, she refused to drink it, prompting Caudle to retrieve the guns.
  Caudle then fired on his mother six times, went back to his room to reload, and shot her again after she had crawled into another room.
  "His mother was begging for her life," Edwards said.
  Moreover, if the boy had suffered physical abuse from his mother, why hadn't he mentioned it in his videotaped confession, the prosecutor asked.
  Edwards also read a statement from Tracy Rinebarger's parents, who attended all of the hearings in the 20 months it took for Caudle's case to go through the court system.
  The statement remembered their son as a vibrant and generous man, who offered the chance of a better life for Caudle.
  "Our family has been shattered beyond repair," it stated.
  The statement also recalled how Caudle did not call for help following the execution of Tracy Rinebarger.
  Instead, he played video games and watched movies after the killings and went to school as normal the next day before fleeing the county in Tracy Rinebarger's truck.
  "We will never be able to forgive John Caudle," the statement said.

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