Crain investigation press conference
CCSO Capt. Chris Roberts takes questions
Aerial: Golden Gate Estates shooting
Alex Crain charged in shooting death of ...
NAPLES — Fourteen-year-old Alexander Thomas Crain, charged with shooting his parents to death, quietly cried in court today as a judge ordered him held in secure juvenile detention for 21 days.
Crain’s grandmother, Nancy S. Ward, stood with Crain, who clasped his hands behind his back, and defense attorney Lee Hollander as about 20 family members packed the small courtroom’s first three rows and sobbed quietly.
“Based on the allegations, if charged as an adult, Mr. Crain will face the restrictions of the 10-20-Life Law because of the use of a firearm,” Assistant State Attorney Rich Montecalvo told Collier Circuit Judge Elizabeth Krier.
The teen, who wore a blue juvenile jail uniform, stood almost frozen, appearing terrified. His head bowed, his lips pursed, he sobbed quietly as he waited for a bailiff to give him court papers listing his arraignment date, Dec. 30. That’s when Montecalvo is expected to tell the judge whether he will be tried as an adult or a juvenile in the deaths of his parents, 40-year-old Thomas and Kelly Crain, 39, of Golden Gate Estates.
Alex Crain, a freshman at Palmetto Ridge High School, has no prior criminal record, so if he’s charged as a juvenile, the maximum he could be held in a juvenile center would be until he turns 21. Under the state’s 10-20-Life Law involving crimes with a gun, Crain would face life on the two second-degree murder charges if he’s prosecuted as an adult.
Crain was arrested Thursday morning by Collier County Sheriff’s deputies after a 911 call from the home on 47th Avenue Northeast . The call, which lasted 16 minutes and 40 seconds, came in at 8:30 a.m. Deputies haven’t said whether the boy made the call, but the report shows no one else was in the home when Crain walked down the driveway, holding his hands up, toward sheriff’s detectives Andrew Henchesmoore and Sgt. Devid Jolicouer.
As Detective Matt Willard pointed his gun at the boy, Henchesmoore searched him and handcuffed him before placing him in a patrol car. Crain told him only his parents were in the home, the report said, and the gun, a rifle, was in a bathroom.
Family members declined comment as they left the courtroom with private investigator John Hisler, who has been retained by Hollander. The defense attorney acted as a court-appointed lawyer today, until the family decides whether to retain him privately.
“He’s in shock,” Hollander said of the teen, declining to say whether he’d been on any medications. “The picture in the paper pretty much summed it up.”
Hollander said family members are standing by the boy.
“If he was to be released, obviously, they would want him to come home,” he said. “The family members are the victims here.”
Hollander wouldn’t speak about details, saying he was just called Thursday by a Tampa attorney, who asked him to handle the arraignment this morning.
If he and Hisler are hired, he said, they would work toward building a case to have him tried as a juvenile. Hollander cited the 10-20-Life Law, which has mandatory sentences involving crimes with guns, adding: “That’s one of the reasons I have to try to get him not charged as an adult.”
Second-degree murder, which involves a killing that wasn’t premeditated, is a first-degree felony punishable by a prison term of 40 years to life. The charge involves a killing committed during another crime. Deputies have not said what that crime was.
The 10-20-Life Law sets guidelines for the minimum a convict must serve before he or she can be released. In Crain’s case, if he is convicted as an adult, he would be required to serve a minimum mandatory of 25 years or up to life in prison.
Noting Crain’s young age and that most teens charged as adults in murders are often 16 or 17 at the youngest, he said he hoped the State Attorney’s Office would prosecute him as a juvenile.
“He’s had no prior run-ins with the law and under the statute, charging him as an adult is discretionary, rather than mandatory,” Hollander added.
Ward, the boy’s grandmother and a licensed practical nurse, is a former business partner of Kelly Crain. The women operated NankelCompumed from 1999 to 2004. The Crains operated Crain Screening and Aluminum Inc., a company they started in 2002, out of their home.
There was no new information about how the killings occurred, the type of rifle used or if the couple was sleeping at the time.
“We’ve been working closely with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office since this incident happened and we have not received the case yet for review,” said Samantha Syoen, spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office. “Once the Collier County Sheriff’s Office completes their investigation, we will review the case for possible charges.”
The boy is being held the maximum number of days in secure juvenile detention on charges filed by the arresting agency. Formal charges still must be filed by the State Attorney’s Office for any prosecution to move forward.
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