LOGAN, Utah (News4Utah) – A teenager will spend 15 years to life in prison for his role in the shooting of a classmate, a judge ruled Thursday.
In October Colter Peterson pleaded guilty to aggravated attempted murder. According to court documents, Peterson and another teen, Jayzon Decker, came up with a plan to kill their classmate Deserae Turner.
The courtroom was filled with emotions as Turner and her family testified. Even the judge was brought to tears.
“Deserae, your bravery, wit and even humor in all of this tragedy while testifying today touched my soul,” Judge Allen said with tears in his eyes. “Your survival…shows us what true strength and courage really is.”
For more than twenty minutes, Deserae Turner – now 15, told Peterson how much her life has changed since he shot her. She only has full use of one side of her body, has severe depression and anxiety, and her family has been traumatized. Her life, the state said, will likely be cut twenty years short because of her traumatic brain injury.
“I hate you,” Turner told Peterson, who sobbed as she faced him “I hate what you did to me.”
“I am tougher than a bullet. Welcome to hell. I have been here for year now,” Turner told the defendant.
In February 2017, Turner was found with a gunshot wound to her head. Peterson and Decker admitted to leaving her behind to die in a dry canal by Sky View High School. Peterson admitted to carrying out the shooting. He was charged as an adult.
Before announcing the sentence for the act, Judge Allen said spoke directly to the teen.
“There is evil in this world, no doubt…Colter, what you did…was evil and horrific…However, just as I said evil can be embraced, it can also be abandoned. You are young and not so far gone that you are beyond help or redemption.”
Judge Allen also asked that the community be sensitive with Peterson’s family. “Colter also came from our community. We should not ostracize… his family for any reason at all,” he said.
“It would be a shameful mark on our community if we shunned them, blamed them, or hurt them in any way,” says Judge Allen.
“Milkshake time!” says #DeseraeTurner as she leaves the courthouse. Colton Peterson was sentenced to 15 to life for aggravated attempted murder. She’s all smiles despite what she’s been through. A very emotional and powerful day in court. pic.twitter.com/S1sVfsfwee— Andrew Reeser (@andrewreeser) February 1, 2018