Jayzon Decker given max prison sentence for attempting to kill Deserae Turner

Jayzon Decker walks back to his seat after speaking during his sentencing hearing for attempted aggravated murder and obstructing justice, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, in Logan, Utah. Decker received a sentence of 15 years to life for planning and being present at the shooting of Deserae Turner in February 2017, and leaving her for dead in a dry irrigation canal in Smithfield, Utah.

LOGAN — The second teenager convicted of shooting Deserae Turner has been sentenced to at least 15-years in prison. Jayzon Decker showed no emotion Wednesday morning, as 1st District Court Judge Brian Cannell ordered him to serve the maximum sentence.

Judge Cannell said, as he weighed the evidence, he couldn’t find any basis the 17-year-old Hyde Park teenager was not just as responsible as Colter Peterson.

“I can not find that you are any less culpable than the co-defendant, legally or morally,” expressed Judge Cannell. “I believe, based on the evidence, you participated actively in the heinous, unlawful event. Therefore, I must impose the statutory maximum.”

Decker was ordered to serve 15-years-to-life for attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, and one-to-15-years for obstructing justice, a second-degree felony. The sentences will run at the same time. Due to the defendant’s age, he will remain in a juvenile detention center until he turns 18, and is transferred to prison.

Judge Cannell said he struggled with Decker’s lack of remorse and emotion throughout the past year. He also feared for the public’s safety, if the defendant was given a lighter sentence.

“I have tried to read you today as I have looked over at you, trying to see if you’re past feeling. I saw emotion shared today, but through the process it was difficult for me to read you. I don’t know what’s scarier, the actual act or not understanding it or the lack of emotion associated with it. I don’t know.”

Earlier, lead prosecutor Spencer Walsh said what Decker and Peterson did was so heinous, evil and damaging to the victim, it demanded the maximum penalty under the law. He explained how the defendant helped plan the shooting and took pleasure in trying to kill Turner on the afternoon of February 16, 2017. He displayed a picture of Decker’s bedroom, showing where the defendant had placed the bullet casing, used to shoot the then 14-year-old girl in the back of the head.

Deserae Turner spoke to the court, reading a prepared statement. She looked at Decker several times, calling him evil and saying he should never be let out of prison.

“When you realize how terrible your life is, don’t you dare blame me for your crappy life,” said Turner. “You are the one who planned a murder and watched Colter pull the trigger. You kept the shell as a trophy. How sick is that? Good luck finding a life in prison, remember that because of you, my life is a prison too. I hope that you are constantly reminded that you tried to kill me. You should know not to mess with me because I am tougher than a bullet.”

Turner’s parents told the court how their daughter’s life will never be the same, after she was found in a dry canal bed in Smithfield. They described how doctors were not able to remove the bullet from her brain and how it causes her extreme headaches. She also has partial paralysis on the left side of her body.

Throughout the hearing, Decker stared straight ahead, never making eye contact with Deserae or her family. The only time he showed any emotion was while his mother, Billie Decker, talked about him as a boy. He then briefly spoke, telling the court he didn’t really know what to say except he was sorry.

“I know what I did was wrong,” said Decker tearfully. “I want to do what is right if possible. I’m here to take full accountability for my actions.”

Last Thursday, Peterson was also given the maximum sentence of 15-years-to-life for attempted aggravated murder and one-to-15-years for robbery. His sentence will also run concurrently, meaning both boys will not be eligible for parole for at least 15-years.

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Outside the courtroom, Turner told the media she doesn’t hate Decker and Peterson, but hate what they did to her.  “I want to follow the Savior, be kind, love one another and choose good,” said Turner.  “My life can and will get better.  I’m going to have my happy ending.”   

<hr /><p style=”text-align: center;”>will@cvradio.com

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