State agency gets custody of youth guilty in Lyle killing

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Publication Date: 
Tuesday, March 1, 1983
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State agency gets custody of youth guilty in Lyle killing

By Bill McAuliffe
Southern Minnesota Correspondent

Austin, Minn.
The Minnesota Department of Corrections will determine what happens next to the 14-year-old Lyle, Minn., boy who shot and killed teacher Sharon Turnbull last August.

Olmsted Count Judge Harold Krieger turned custody of the youth over to the corrections department at a dispositional hearing Monday rather than sentence him to a specific rehabilitation or detention program.

With Krieger's action, the court has no further authority in the case and can place no restrictions on what state corrections officials might decide.

On Feb. 7, Krieger found the youth delinquent for having committed first-degree murder. That decision came after a seven-day hearing in December that was attended only by reporters. The youth's parents sat in the courtroom as spectators for the first time at yesterday's hearing.

The most severe penalty the youth faces is placement in a juvenile detention center until he turns 19. Even if he is paroled, he would remain under corrections department supervision until he turns 19 because of the severity of the crime, said Jay Lindgren, state executive office of juvenile release.

He said that because relatively few juvenile murder cases are turned over to the corrections department, they are reviewed individually. He said a decision on a program for the youth would be reached in about a week and added that there are no sentencing guidelines for juvenile murder cases similar to those in the adult corrections system.

Krieger said he weighed several alternatives for the youth, including release to the custody of his parents or placement in a foster home. In such cases the youth would have remained under court supervision.

"These types of programs would undoubtedly have been able to meet many of the child's need as well," Krieger said in a written disposition.

"However, the court has determined that the seriousness of the act committed by the youth warrants a commitment to the Commissioner of Corrections... The court's duty ensure that the public is protected mandates that the child be transferred to an agency more suited to the handling of juveniles that have committed serious violations of the law."

Krieger also said that putting the boy into any program in Lyle would be unhealthy for him and the community.

"The pressures on the family and the boy would be somewhat of a burden," he said. "They would not enhance his rehabilitation process."