Colorado 14-year-old sentenced to 10 years for his dad’s murder

A 14-year-old Colorado boy who admitted shooting his father dead and concealing the death by calling the man’s work for five days to say his dad was ill was sentenced on Thursday to 10 years in prison, prosecutors said.

Kai Kelly, who was 13 at the time of the slaying in May, pleaded guilty this week to the first-degree murder of his father, Joseph Kelly, and to attempted criminal extortion, Eagle County District Attorney Bruce Brown said in a statement.

Under a plea deal reached with prosecutors, the boy will serve seven years in juvenile detention for the murder and three years in adult prison for the extortion charge, the statement said

Authorities uncovered the killing after the elder Kelly, 50, missed several days of work in the mountain town of Gypsum, about 105 miles (169 km) west of Denver. Kai Kelly called the man's employer several days in a row to say his dad was ill and would not make it to work, police said.

Joseph Kelly's co-workers became suspicious about the lengthy absences and contacted police. Deputies who went to the home the pair shared found the man dead from two gunshot wounds fired from a .22-caliber rifle.

Eagle County coroner Kara Bettis said at the time that Kelly was shot twice in the head and had been dead for six days when he was found.

Authorities did not release a motive for the killing, but police said the boy was under investigation for vandalizing a recreation center, and that Joseph Kelly failed to show up for a meeting with police about the incident.

Brown said the sentence is an “unusual dual-commitment approach.”

“This difficult balance is hoped to result in the best chance for rehabilitation of this very young man,” he said. “Placing sole emphasis on either treatment or punishment just wouldn’t have been a good plan.”

(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Lisa Shumaker)