EVERETT — Robert Myrick Sr. used to come home and find his son playing video games, asking what’s for dinner.
Now, the father cries in bed at night, hoping that he won’t wake up. That way, he could see his son again, and hear his voice, he told a judge Friday in Snohomish County Superior Court.
“My son and his family, we didn’t deserve any of this,” he said.
Robert Myrick Jr., 16, was killed in August. He had met another boy, 15, in the Marysville woods, to fight over a girl they both liked. After tripping and falling, Myrick was kicked in the head.
The other boy, and the group who had gathered to watch, failed to call 911 as Myrick lay in the dirt, having stroke after stroke. He spent days on life support before succumbing to his brain injury.
On Friday, Judge Richard Okrent went beyond the standard 30-day juvenile sentence recommended for the killer by the prosecutor and the defense attorney. He ordered the teen to serve a year behind bars.
“It takes a lot of anger to kick someone in the head,” Okrent said.
“He was down on the ground,” the judge continued. “He could do nothing to you. You had won the fight.”
The judge ruled that a standard sentence would be a manifest injustice. At the time of the kick, the victim was defenseless, Okrent said. It was further cruelty not to summon help, he said.
A surgeon told Myrick’s family that he might have survived if he had immediate medical care.
The judge also noted that the defendant lied to police at first about what happened.
The other boy, now 16, pleaded guilty in February to second-degree manslaughter, admitting that his negligence was a factor in the homicide. The boy was taken into custody after Friday’s hearing. This newspaper generally does not name defendants in juvenile court.
Myrick’s family had hoped for a murder conviction, which carries far more time in detention.
Manslaughter was “the highest possible charge we could prove,” deputy prosecutor Adam Cornell said.
The 30-day sentence sought by attorneys was the maximum within sentencing guidelines for juveniles convicted of that offense. Judges aren’t necessarily bound by the guidelines.
The boy being punished also addressed the court Friday, along with his family.
“This was the average teenage dumb … to the worst outcome possible,” the boy’s father said.
“I regret my actions deeply,” the boy said. “It was never my intention to take a life.”
The victim’s relatives described Myrick Sr., a single father, as “broken and angry.”
They all have felt “anger, rage, guilt, depression, isolation,” an aunt said.
Myrick attended Marysville Getchell High School. He was excited to start his junior year and to learn to drive a car, according to his obituary in The Daily Herald. He dreamed of professional basketball and could nearly dunk on a NBA regulation-height hoop, his father said.
“He could stand in the corner and drain threes,” Myrick Sr. said.
His son often stayed outside the house shooting hoops long after nightfall, he said. Now, there will be no more basketball, no more snowmobiling, no graduation and no wedding.
An uncle described the loss of a “fine, respectful, caring young man.”
“There will never be an apology good enough or big enough,” he said.