(Lander, WY) – A sentencing hearing overseen by the Honorable Judge Jason Conder was held today, July 13, for Patrick SunRhodes Jr., one of the four parties involved in the January 4th, 2019 murders of Jocelyn Watt and Rudy Perez.
SunRhodes was sentenced to 18 to 20 years imprisonment, ordered to pay $14,794 in restitution, and Judge Conder also recommended him for the youthful offender program.
Upon successful completion of that program, SunRhodes will be eligible to file for a sentence reduction, but Judge Conder clarified that completion does not mean a guaranteed reduction and will ultimately be the Court’s decision.
SunRhodes, who was 14-years-old at the time of the murders, originally faced four felony murder charges for his involvement, which reportedly included accompanying Brandon Monroe into the residence of Watt and Perez, and witnessing Monroe murder Perez.
SunRhodes’ initial request to be tried as a minor was denied, later resulting in a plea agreement filed on his behalf on October 13 of 2022.
As per the plea agreement, SunRhodes pled “no contest” to the amended felony charge of aid and abet aggravated robbery.
Further hearings were ultimately “delayed until the disposition of the case of State of Wyoming v. Brandon Monroe,” who awaits to be sentenced following his June “guilty” plea.
At today’s sentencing hearing, the State, represented by Patrick LeBrun, argued for the 18-20 year sentence and restitution.
LeBrun cited SunRhodes’ “high level of criminal culpability” and “significant role” in the matter, further emphasizing SunRhodes’ silence for two years following the murders.
However, the State did agree to a cap of 20 years imprisonment out of the possible 25 for the charge, as well as the minimum of 18 years, due to the fact that his cooperation was key in further convictions of the other parties involved.
SunRhode’s defense attorney Jonathan Foreman argued that cooperation, along with his young age at the time of the murders and fear of retaliation from Monroe if he spoke to law enforcement, warranted a 6-10 year sentence.
During the prosecution’s time at the stand, Jocelyn’s mother Nicole Wagon shared a poem entitled “Words Spill From My Heart” to convey the grief of her loss, and also shared a letter from her sister, who was unable to be in attendance.
“You took what the Creator made and destroyed it,” Wagon’s sister wrote in the letter before later asking the Court to set aside the plea agreement and sentence him to a maximum punishment.
Jocelyn’s youngest sister Jewel also spoke, and addressed SunRhodes directly.
“You didn’t pull the trigger, but that doesn’t matter,” Jewel commented, adding that his silence was enough for a harsh sentence. “It hurts because you knew that it was wrong, but didn’t say anything.”
SunRhodes chose not to speak when he was given the chance by the Court.
Ultimately, SunRhodes was sentenced to 18-20 years imprisonment (with 582 days credit for time already served), and ordered to pay restitution as per the plea agreement.
All coverage of Sunrhodes’ case can be read here.
Updates on the other parties involved can be found here.