14-year-old Idaho boy claims ‘stress’ of brother’s autism made him murder father and brother
A 14-year-old Idaho boy accused of murdering his father and brother told a judge that the stress of his brother’s autism tore his family apart and provoked him into a shooting and stabbing spree.
Eldon Gale Samuel III is accused of killing his father, Eldon Samuel Jr., 46, and his brother, Jonathan Samuel, 13, on March 24 in a temporary housing unit in Coeur d’Alene, according to the Spokesman-Review.
According to the younger Samuel, the stress of dealing with his younger brother’s disability drove his mother to leave the family and his father to develop an addiction to painkillers.
“Eldon, when asked why he did what he did, said ‘If he wasn’t there … we’d be a happy family,’ ” said Magistrate Judge Barry Watson.
According to authorities, Eldon claimed his father had been taking unspecified medications and shooting a .45 caliber pistol into the air outside while talking about zombies. When the father came back into house, he began shoving Eldon, who wrestled the gun away from his father before shooting him in the stomach. Fearing that his father was still coming after him as he crawled on the floor, Eldon shot his father three more times in the head; twice in the cheeks and once in the temple.
“I felt scared, like he was going to kill me. I didn’t know if he had the 9 mm on him,” Samuel told the officers.
Saying he was afraid for his life, Eldon reportedly asked police if it was self defense.
“He just beat me. I loved him, but the next time he came after me …,” Samuel told police officers according to Judge Watson. “That’s self-defense, right?”
According to the autopsy report, the boy then reportedly shot his brother, who had been hiding under a bed, with a shotgun before stabbing him multiple times and hacking him with a machete.
Police had been in contact with the family multiple times before the shooting, mainly after receiving calls that the elder Samuel was either inebriated or on drugs.
Authorities who responded to the call questioned Samuel and stated that the young man waived his right to talk to an attorney before confessing, causing concern for Judge Watson.
“Eldon said yes, he understood those rights, but the officer never asked if he wanted an attorney,” Watson said. “We had witnesses testify that he seemed of average intelligence for a 14-year-old, but he didn’t do well in school. He missed a lot of school.”
Based upon the admission of abuse, Judge Watson reduced the charge of first degree murder to second degree murder in the death of his father.
He still faces first degree murder in case of his brother since it appears to have been premeditated.