A 16-year-old Texas boy was sentenced to 30 years in jail, reports the Temple Daily Telegram. The teen, who has not been identified because he is a minor, reportedly pleaded guilty to the shooting death of his stepfather, Josh Colby Mitchell.
Bell County juvenile probation officer Leticia Rodriguez testified to “two situations” believed to have spurred the shooting, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The teen, whose adoptive father, Keith Stermer, described him as having “problems” to the court, was reportedly locked outside of his parents’ house five days a week while they were at work.
The teen had stolen $2,000 from the family over time, and as a result, he was forced to stay outside while his parents were gone approximately from 7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The teen was given a sandwich for the day and a glass of water to refill with the garden hose.
Mitchell and his wife, Dana Mitchell, whom the Morning News reports share a toddler together and are expecting another baby, reportedly barred him from taking part in the high school band as well.
Rodriguez said after Mitchell informed the teen he couldn’t participate in band, he spanked him with a belt for failing to clean up tin cans a little girl got into.GoFundMe
On August 2, the teen broke into the family’s home through a bedroom window after his parents left for work. He grabbed a handgun and stayed inside all day until just before his stepfather got home.
Upon Mitchell’s return, the teen asked if he could come inside for a glass of water. Once inside, the teen shot Mitchell as the man exited the shower—twice in the abdomen and once in the chest—reportedly to “put him out of his misery.”
The teen then fled the area in Mitchell’s truck only to return later that night, when he was arrested after an accident. Dana Mitchell found her husband’s body inside their home.
A page on GoFundMe to help support Mitchell’s wife and the couple’s children describes Mitchell as “a very loving husband and father”:
Josh was one to help anyone and everyone who needed something. If he couldn’t help then he would try to find someone who could help.
The teen’s attorney, Michael Magana, said his client’s biological mother had not been in the teen’s life since he was five years old. The teen had been in several foster homes, and Child Protective Services (CPS) had found the teen had been left home alone by the mom and possibly overdosed on drugs, according to the Temple Daily Telegram.
Speaking about his current home, Magana described leaving the teen outside all day with just a sandwich and a glass of water with no one to talk to as “troubling.”
Judge Rebecca DePew said she believes the teen can be rehabilitated, repeating to the court some words Dana Mitchell used in a submitted statement — that “there are no winners in this situation.” She added:
“To (the teenager’s) credit, he owned up to it.”
Depending on his progress in the state juvenile system, the teen might be eligible for adult parole when he is 19, the Temple Daily Telegram reports.