The burned out mobile home in Hudson where Eric Likes and Elva Quiver died on Nov. 17, 2011 (Ernie Over photo)
(Lander, Wyo.) – Jude Blackburn, the last of the defendants in the 2011 Hudson double homicide, pleaded not guilty to nine charges this morning during arraignment proceedings.
Blackburn, who is 17 now, entered his pleas 18 months after the charges were first levied against him. The charges he faces are: two counts of first degree murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree, first degree arson, two counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery.
Blackburn was 15 at the time of his alleged involvement in the November 2011 murders of Eric Likes and Elva Quiver of Hudson. The couple was killed in their trailer home during the perpetration of a robbery. Based on court documents and testimony from four other codefendants, all of whom have been convicted, Blackburn and others returned two days after the murder and set fire to the trailer home to cover up evidence.
Based on precedent set by higher courts, Blackburn will not face the death penalty or life in prison without parole. Life in prison with a chance for parole is the stiffest penalty he could face if convicted.
Because of his age, proceedings in both Wyoming’s Ninth District Court and the Wyoming Supreme Court were held to determine whether or not Blackburn should be tried as an adult. In September, the Supreme Court ruled he should be tried as an adult. Blackburn’s competency to stand trial had also been the subject of several hearings, and Ninth District Court Judge Norman E. Young ruled that he was competent.
Judge Norman E. Young noted in court this morning that a writ of review had been filed in the Wyoming Supreme Court on the case. He said the local court would proceed as normal, pending the Supreme Court’s decision to review the case or not.
Blackburn’s trial has been scheduled for Feb. 10, 2014. His defense attorney lobbied for a reduced bond, but Young kept it set at $1 million cash.
Blackburn’s co-defendants, Joseph Jude Jenkins, Laziur Hanway Jr., Samantha Hanway and Ryan Hanway, have all pleaded guilty to lesser charges and have been sentenced.
Laziur Hanway Jr., 20, was sentenced earlier this year to life in prison for two counts of Second Degree Murder.
Jenkins, 20, received a sentence of 70 years to life after also pleading guilty to two counts of Second-Degree Aiding and Abetting Murder.
Samantha Hanway, 21, received 25 to 50 years after pleading guilty last September to two counts of Second-Degree Aiding and Abetting Murder.
Ryan Hanway, who was a conspirator in the robbery, was sentenced earlier this year to 8 to 16 years in prison for Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Robbery.