Charles Long, 50, and his wife, Marilyn Long, 51, were found dead in their Burlington home on Tuesday evening. They are the 12-year-old's parents. Investigators say both the adults had suffered from gunshot wounds.
Two children of the Longs, a 5-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy, were also found injured at the home.
In addition to the murder charges, the 12-year-old also faces two counts of attempted first-degree murder and at least two counts of aggravated assault. He is currently charged as a juvenile.
Bob Watson, district attorney for the 13th Judicial District, has not made a decision whether to charge the 12-year-old as an adult. If he makes that decision, he has to submit a request to the judge who would then decide if that will happen.
Watson had to file charges against the 12-year-old within 72 hours.
The 12-year-old's name has not been released. Authorities have not named any other suspects in the case.
The 5-year-old girl has knife injuries to her neck and back. She was also shot. The 9-year-old boy has gunshot wounds to his groin and was also stabbed. Both are at The Children's Hospital in Aurora and are expected to make a full recovery. The 5-year-old is out of ICU and the 9-year-old is still in the ICU, but is improving.
"I really appreciate the concern and prayers. We should be fine now. We've had a lot of help from relatives, friends, and all the people I work with. I will tell you that my little sister is doing great, and my brother is starting to do better," Caleb Long, one of their older brothers, told 9NEWS.
Family and friends are at a loss to describe what may have happened inside the home.
"I can't guess at all," Aaron Gartrell, a close friend of the Long family, said. "He was just a special kid."
Gartrell's children were homeschooled, like the Longs, and he said Charles and Marilyn were loving parents to their kids.
"They're just really good people," he said. "About as good as you could get."
The 12-year-old appeared in court on Wednesday. He will appear in court again on March 14. A public defender has been appointed to the case.
J. Jones is a lawyer in the juvenile court system and owns www.nightlifelawyer.com. He says he has never seen a child accused of inflicting this kind of brutality. In his experience violence to this degree is triggered by something a child has seen or experienced.
"It is very rare for a child to have what you would call the 'Daemon factor.' The bad seed that you see in the movies is generally not what we see in the juvenile court system. Generally we see kids who are reacting to their environment," Jones said.
Watson could not say whether a representative was present when he was questioned by police, citing a gag order in the case.
"We will address that in court if the issue is brought up," he said.
Juvenile advocates are already calling for protections for the 12-year-old.
"If he's badly abused, then he needs to get help," Mary Ellen Johnson, executive director of the Pendulum Project, said. "If he is mentally ill and that's the reason that he did it, then he also needs treatment. What is the purpose of trying this kid and locking him up behind bars?"
Johnson's Pendulum Project advocates for shorter prison sentences for juveniles charged with crimes.
"The blessing that this child was so young is that they can't automatically try him as an adult," Johnson said.
Legally, the prosecutor says he cannot charge the boy as an adult because he is under 14. Under state law, it is up to the juvenile court system to decide if he can be charged as an adult. Colorado law states anyone 12 or older can technically be charged as an adult for certain serious felonies.
Watson says he is not necessarily looking at filing adult charges against the 12-year-old and he would have to file motions in juvenile court before that could happen.
The boy is being held at the Platte Valley Youth Services Center in Greeley.
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