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Defense for teen accused of double-murder pushes for juvenile trial

Defense for teen accused of double-murder push for juvenile

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The defense for a 17-year-old accused for double-murder said it wants the trial moved back to juvenile court during a court appearance Wednesday.

The District Attorney's Office pushed for Macyo January to be tried as an adult. The teen faces 23 charges, the biggest among those is four counts of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a Fort Carson soldier and his wife.

Dave Dunlap and his wife Whitney walked in on a burglary in progress at their home on Jan. 14. The couple was shot and killed. The couple moved to Colorado Springs in November and recently found out they were expecting their first child.

Practicing attorney Elvin Gentry said the defense most likely wants the case transferred back to juvenile court because the punishment would be less severe.

Gentry said the judge will consider the severity of the crimes when determining where January should be tried. The judge's decision could dictate how much of January's life could be spent behind bars.

"The United States Supreme Court pretty recently has said you can't sentence a juvenile to life in prison without the possibility of parole under the Eighth Amendment, cruel and unusual punishment," said Gentry.

An adult convicted of first-degree murder in court could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. If January is tried as a juvenile in adult court, he would have to serve 40 years before he would be up for parole if he was convicted of just one count of first-degree murder.  Gentry said January could be in jail until he was, at a minimum, 57 years old if he was convicted.

Jerel Couch also appeared before the judge. He was connected to the case; January stayed at Couch's apartment while police searched for January. He is charged with accessory to first-degree murder -- not for the murder itself, but for harboring a fugitive.

January's next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 14. The District Attorney's Office and January's defense will discuss where the case should be tried at that time.

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