Teen gets 30 years for beating death of disabled man

BOULDER - A Boulder County teen was sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading to charges related to the beating death of a developmentally disabled man.

Luke Pelham pleaded guilty in May to second-degree murder, assault on an at-risk victim and aggravated battery on Wednesday. His accomplice, Austin Holford was sentenced to 56 years in prison earlier this year.

The teens beat to death Aaron Tuneberg, 30, in March 2014. Tuneberg suffered serious head injuries after the young men beat him with a bat and golf club. They also stole Tuneberg's Xbox.

On Friday at Pelham's sentencing Tuneburg's mother, read a lengthy victim impact statement. Gale Boonstra said her son was loving and had a gentle-hearted soul. She went on to say how his murder has turned their lives upside down.

"His senseless and cruel murder has forever changed my life and the lives of everyone in Aaron's family extended family, and the collateral damage inflicted by Luke Pelham and Austin Holford goes on and on," she said. "A mother should not have to watch her child die, nor does a mother ever get over the loss of a child. I continue to be haunted by the horror of what my son's last conscious moments must have been like as he realized he was being violently betrayed by two men he considered to be friends."

Following Aaron's murder Boonstra vowed to make his life have an impact on others by creating Aaron's Fund. Her goal is to raise money and provide job training for adults with disabilities.

(© 2015 KUSA)


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