Huffpost Denver

12-Year-Old Charged In Parents' Killings Described As 'Good Kid'

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BURLINGTON, Colo. — A 12-year-old boy remained in custody Friday as prosecutors submitted paperwork to a judge overseeing the double-murder case involving the child's parents.

The boy has been described by a pastor as a wholesome kid who often volunteered at church, handing out bulletins, working with audio and video equipment and helping other kids learn Bible verses.

Then, police say, he did the unthinkable, killing his parents and wounding two of his younger siblings in the case that has rattled Burlington, a farming and ranching community of 3,700 near the Kansas border.

District Attorney Robert Watson said he filed paperwork in the case Friday, but he declined to provide details, citing a gag order.

He previously said he planned to file first-degree murder and other charges against the boy but hadn't decided whether to prosecute him as an adult.

The difference could mean life in prison without parole or treatment at a juvenile facility until he's 21.

The name of the boy has not been released because of his age. Tom Ward, his public defender, declined to comment.

Police say they discovered the attacks Tuesday after the boy called 911 to report a shooting.

When officers arrived, they found the bodies of Charles and Marilyn Long. Two of the couple's other children – a 5-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy – were wounded. They were expected to recover.

The 12-year-old boy was then taken into custody, stunning friends and neighbors.

Charles and Marilyn Long, who were in their early 50s, had seven children. Four are grown and no longer live at home. Marilyn Long homeschooled her kids and ran the children's ministry at the local Evangelical Free Church. Her husband served as an elder.

Wally Long, the oldest brother of Charles Long, expressed disbelief about the accusations against his nephew, as well as a concern for the boy, who is being held at a juvenile detention facility in Greeley, about 150 miles from his hometown.

The Rev. Ron Lee said the boy was involved with church events. When a school activity prevented the boy from volunteering on Sunday, he called the church to make sure there was a substitute greeter, Lee said.

"He was pleasant, helpful, a good spirit, a good kid," Lee said.