Young killer gets 18 years

Kyle Boston was described in one courtroom recently as a young tough guy. But he was subdued and polite in another courtroom Wednesday when he learned that he will spend more than 18 years behind bars.

Boston, 16, of Arlington pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the April 13, 2001, beating and stabbing death of an Everett man after being hired by Barbara Opel to participate in an ambush attack.

Boston’s case was handled in adult court after his charge was referred there in 2001 by the same judge who gave him the high end of the sentencing range for second-degree murder, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Charles French.

French accepted Boston’s guilty plea, carefully asking whether he understood the rights he was relinquishing. A week ago, Boston said he didn’t understand part of the legal process, and the sentencing was continued to Wednesday.

To most questions, Boston politely answered, “Yes, your honor.”

Boston apologized to the Heimann family. “If I could take it back, I would,” he said.

He likely will be housed at a state facility for young men at Clallam Bay prison on the Olympic Peninsula until he reaches 18, said his Everett attorney, Douglas Ricks.

Boston was one of five teenagers hired by Opel to attack and kill Jerry Heimann, 64. The same jury that convicted Opel of aggravated first-degree murder last week now is hearing evidence to determine if she should be put to death or spend the rest of her life in prison.

Three of the other teens have been sentenced to long-term imprisonment, and the last is scheduled for sentencing next week.

The only one handled injuvenile court is a cousin of Boston who was 12 at the time of the murder. He will remain incarcerated until he turns 21.

The 18-year prison term for Boston was the recommendation of deputy prosecutor Chris Dickinson, and it was reinforced by Heimann’s relatives, who asked for the maximum penalty. Under state law, Boston could have received as little as 10 years.

“He’s going to have a life after he gets out of prison. My dad won’t,” said Greg Heimann of Arkansas, the victim’s son.

Mary Lou Cannon of Everett, Heimann’s former wife, read a family letter noting that Boston played an important role in the brutal attack. She asked that Boston be treated “as the dangerous criminal he is.”

Ricks agreed that it was a brutal crime, but reminded French that Boston was just 14 at the time of the murder.

He described Boston as a “mixed-up kid” who got involved in a terrible tragedy. Ricks said Boston never denied his role, and “the fact is he did not intend to kill Mr. Heimann. Your honor, he does not deserve the maximum sentence. He doesn’t.”

French gave him the high end of the sentencing range, noting how easy it was for Opel to recruit young killers to do her bidding.

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