Judge Slaps Teen With 1- to 15-Year Sentence
Cooper Van Huizen's parents are trying to get him out of jail
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2014 2:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Utah teenager is facing up to 15 years in prison on robbery charges, and his parents are terrified. Cooper Van Huizen, 16, admits to taking part in a house robbery with friends. He also brought his dad's unloaded guns, one of which was pointed at a victim who was ordered to lie down on his belly, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. "I thought I was going to get shot in the back of the head," the victim told police. But while Cooper's teenage co-defendants took plea deals and got around 200 days in jail, Cooper copped a plea and got 1 to 15 years. Now he's in a maximum security cell at Utah State Prison, under a camera's watchful eye at all times.

"He’s just a nice, sweet young boy, always has been," said Cooper's father. "He’s not this rough-and-tough wanna-be street-wise little kid." Now with a new lawyer, the boy's parents are seeking a sentence reduction and hope the judge will let Cooper withdraw his two guilty pleas to second-degree felony robbery (the teens stole a bag of marijuana, a wallet, $10, and a cellphone, KSL reports). As for Cooper, he took responsibility for his crime—sort of. "I was reckless in trying to fit in with and please new people I did not really know," he wrote in a court declaration. "My judgment was impaired by my use of marijuana."

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Showing 3 of 146 comments
May 27, 2014 2:49 PM CDT
1. That was a poorly written article. 2. If he was just going to plea guilty, then why not just take the plea deal like his accomplices? He would have been out of jail within 2 months with good behavior.
May 27, 2014 11:02 AM CDT
It is irresponsible for this teenager to try and explain away his actions under the guise of marijuana use. Never before has marijuana been directly correlated with criminal behavior or the laps in judgment that the accused mentioned. It shows a lack of responsibility and willingness to own up to his actions.
May 27, 2014 10:03 AM CDT
The only problem I see here is his buddies should have gotten the same sentence.