FARMINGTON, Utah -- A West Point teenager pleaded guilty Wednesday to murdering his two younger adopted brothers in their home more than a year ago.
FOX 13 News has a policy of not naming juveniles accused of crimes, but after pleading guilty to one murder count in adult court, we have now identified 16-year-old Aza Vidinhar.
Vidinhar will serve time in both the juvenile system and adult prison in a plea deal that isn’t unprecedented but is unusual and unique, attorneys say.
The deal is meant to balance public safety with the hope of rehabilitating a troubled minor.
Vidinhar walked into a Farmington courtroom Wednesday morning shackled and wearing a blue sweatshirt. His parents cried as he said he was guilty.
"It's a tough day for him, he didn't want his family to have to go through the hearings, and I think he's made real progress in trying to grasp what he's done," said defense attorney Todd Utzinger.
Vidinhar first pleaded guilty in juvenile court to murdering his 10-year-old brother, Alex, then entered the same plea in adult court for killing his 4-year-old brother Benjie. It's a case Davis County deputies will never forget. The 16-year-old slashed and stabbed the boys multiple times in the family's West Point home.
Gene Kennedy: "What was the motive?"
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings: "Don’t know."
Gene Kennedy: "It never came clear as the investigation continued?"
Troy Rawlings: I'm not going to talk about the facts and details and specifics of this case."
The night of the murder, cops picked up Vidinhar on a Layton road wearing bloodied clothes. The courts later suppressed his reported confession, saying Davis County investigators illegally interrogated him. For months, under the radar, attorneys on both sides have been working on a plea deal, which was reached Wednesday.
"It's a somber day, but we think the attorneys on both sides have tried to come together and reach a resolution that will give Aza an opportunity to get treatment and still protects the state's interest in having society remain safe until we know how well he does," Utzinger said.
The teen will receive counseling in the juvenile system and stay there until he's 21, then transfer to adult prison, serving potentially 15 years to life.
"If he goes directly to the adult system now it's not in his best rehabilitation interests," Rawlings added. "If we keep him in the juvenile system as long as we can, that might pose less of a risk to society than if we just put him in the adult system now."
The Vidinhar family wouldn't comment, but the teen's lawyer said the parents are satisfied with this deal.
The Davis County Sheriff's office said it's also relieved the family doesn't have to relive the grisly details in a trial. Ultimately, it's up to the Board of Pardons and 15 to life is only recommendation. Vidinhar could be spend the rest of his life in prison, be released by age 30, or possibly sooner depending on his behavior and whether he can be rehabilitated.
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