COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — An Idaho judge said he can’t in good conscience continue to allow a 14-year-old boy who is charged with killing his father and brother to be held in a juvenile detention facility.
District Judge Benjamin Simpson on Wednesday ordered Eldon Gale Samuel III to be returned to the Kootenai County jail, the Spokesman-Review reports.
Samuel is charged as an adult with shooting 46-year-old Eldon Samuel Jr. and shooting and stabbing 13-year-old Jonathan Samuel in an emergency housing unit in Coeur d’Alene in March. He was held in jail for two months and then transferred to the juvenile facility.
Jail and juvenile detention officials said they would prefer Samuel be held in juvenile detention and prosecutors didn’t object, but Judge Simpson said there was a “small risk but a very grave danger” of keeping Samuel with the other boys.
Samuel was moved back to the jail on Wednesday.
The judge said he’d consider other options for housing Samuel.
“I just can’t in good conscience order him to continue to be held in the Juvenile Detention Center,” Simpson said.
Linda Hoss, manager of the juvenile center, said they tried to prevent the other boys from learning why Samuel was incarcerated, but a staff member overheard him talking about it and she said a majority of the kids know who he is.
Deputy prosecuting attorney Art Verharen asked if the juvenile center could isolate Samuel from the other boys.
Hoss said it was possible, but it would reduce staff supervision of the other boys, reducing overall safety.
Instead, he will be held in isolation at the adult jail.
Samuel was initially charged with first-degree murder for both deaths, but Magistrate Judge Barry Watson changed the charge to second-degree murder for the father’s death after the boy said his father beat him and threatened to kill him
Samuel told investigators that the stress of his brother’s autism caused his father to become addicted to painkillers and his mother to leave the family, Watson said during a hearing in mid-June.