The teenager accused of pulling the trigger in the shooting of then-14-year-old Deserae Turner may spend the rest of his life in juvenile detention and prison, following his sentencing Thursday morning.
Judge Kevin K. Allen sentenced Colter Peterson to 15 years to life for attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, and one to 15 years for robbery, a second degree felony, on Thursday in First District Court in Logan. The sentences will be served concurrently.
Peterson, 17, is the first of two teenage boys to be sentenced in connection with the shooting. He pleaded guilty to the charges as part of a negotiated settlement in October.
“His choices, even at his age, are his choices, and he will suffer the consequences of that,” Allen said Thursday.
The other teen accused in the shooting plot, Jayzon Decker, pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated murder and obstruction of justice in December. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 7.
Turner was found alive in a dry canal bed in Smithfield after a .22-caliber gunshot to the head in February 2017, but she stood at the podium and spoke during Thursday's sentencing. Midway through her remarks, she struggled to stand and was seated in her wheelchair.
In between convulsions, she gave an expressionless glare to Peterson. She addressed him directly at the end of her testimony.
“I hate you,” Turner said. “I hate what you did to me. I hate that I trusted you. I hate that I can’t move. I hate my headaches. I hate that I can’t hang out with friends.”
Throughout the testimony of Turner and her family, Peterson repeatedly reached for tissues to wipe his face.
Cache County Attorney James Swink said Turner’s permanent medical conditions include traumatic brain injury resulting in diminished cognitive ability, diminished reasoning skills, severe chronic headaches, vision disturbances, dizziness, cognitive impairment, loss of executive skills, memory impairment, fatigue, anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.
Since she came home from her initial hospital stay, Swink said Turner has had 287 medical appointments in 267 days, with neurosurgeons, ear nose and throat specialists, general surgeons and occupational therapists. He said she has seizures and has had four brain surgeries.
He added that people who suffer from traumatic brain injury have a 20-year shorter lifespan than the general population.
“Not only will her life be diminished, but it will be cut short,” Swink said.
Turner said the pain she feels is like someone stabbing her brain.
“There are times I wish I could give … the gun back to Colter and tell him to try again and put me out of my misery,” Deserae said in her testimony.