The burned out mobile home of Eric Likes and Elva Quiver in Hudson.
(Lander, Wyo.) – The last defendant in the Hudson double homicide case pleaded guilty this morning in Fremont County’s Ninth District Court to a charge of Second Degree Murder.
For his guilty plea, Jude Blackburn, 17, will receive 20 to 30 years in prison.
Blackburn, and four other defendants, were charged in the November 2011 murders of Eric Likes, 42, and Elva Quiver, 20, which occurred in the couple’s Hudson trailer home, which was later set on fire in an effort to cover up the crime.
During the last two years, Blackburn’s case has been heard by the Wyoming Supreme Court to see if he should be charged as a juvenile rather than as an adult. He was 15 years old at the time of the murders. Hearings were also held to determine if Blackburn was competent to stand trial.
In October 2013, having been found competent and being tried officially as an adult, Blackburn pleaded not guilty to 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.
The plea agreement filed in the case on Jan. 7, 2014, dictated that he would plead guilty to Second Degree Murder in connection specifically to the death of Likes. The charge carries with it a sentence of no less than 20 years in prison and up to life, but the prosecution agreed to cap its sentencing argument to 30 years. He will receive credit for time served. Blackburn has been held in the Sweetwater County Detention Center. A pre-sentence investigation has been ordered by Ninth District Court Judge Norman E. Young, and the formal sentencing hearing will be held at a later date.
Generally, after defendants plead guilty, they are required to testify and give factual basis for the plea. In this case, Young took the affidavit and testimony from Blackburn’s co-defendants as facts to support the guilty plea. Blackburn was not required to testify, and no one in open court addressed why that was the case.
Likes and Quiver were killed in their trailer home during the perpetration of a robbery. Based on court documents and testimony from the 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.
Fremont County Deputy Attorney Pat LeBrun told the court today that had the case gone to trial the state would have been able to prove that a blow to Likes’s head killed him, despite the fact that he would have died from stab wounds.
The testimony from others and the court documents state that Blackburn entered the trailer home after the attack had begun and struck Likes in the head with a dresser drawer.
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 to life in prison for two counts of Second Degree Murder.
Jenkins, 20, received a sentence of 70 years to life after pleading guilty to two counts of Second-Degree Aiding and Abetting Murder.
Samantha Hanway, 21, received 25 to 50 years after pleading guilty in 2012 to two counts of Second-Degree Aiding and Abetting Murder.
Ryan Hanway, who was a conspirator in the robbery, was sentenced to 8 to 16 years in prison for Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Robbery.