LOGAN, Utah - The family of Deserae Turner can now close a chapter and continue to heal, an attorney said Tuesday, after the second of two teens accused of trying to kill her pleaded guilty in court.
17-year old Jayzon Decker, who was 16 at the time, helped 16-year old Colter Danny Peterson lure Turner to a Smithfield trail in February with plans to kill her with a knife.
Peterson later told police they shot Turner in the back of the head, then left her to die in a snowy canal.
She was found the next day clinging to life.
At court on Tuesday, Decker quietly muttered “guilty” to charges of attempted aggravated homicide and obstruction of justice. As part of a plea deal, the judge agreed to drop an aggravated robbery and three other obstruction of justice charges.
“He made a big mistake, and he broke the law and now he is going to accept responsibility for that,” said Decker’s attorney Shannon Demler.
This comes after Peterson pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated homicide and robbery charges in October. Both teens are facing the charges as adults, and could serve up to life in prison. They’ll face sentencing in the coming months.
Immediately after court, Deserae’s father Matt Turner said admitting guilt was the right thing for these boys to do.
“We are happy that Des and our family will not have to go through a lengthy trial.” He said. “We believe this is best scenario for Deserae, given the circumstances.”
He got choked up as he described how Turner has been working hard to recover, and still has a huge amount of healing to do.
“This has been very hard,” he said, fighting back tears. “But through even our darkest days, we have seen the good in people.”
That good has also included progress for Deserae that Turner said has gone “slowly and slightly.” He said the family is pursuing every avenue for his daughter’s healing.
“We recently added a service dog to our family,” he said, getting emotional. “This cute little puppy brings Des joy.”
Still, Cache County Attorney James Swink pointed out that the now 15-year old will never be the same. She suffers from several medical conditions and will continue to undergo procedures and treatments.
“This is a horrific act,” Swink said. “The sense of betrayal to Deserae is… you can’t put words to that, how terrible it is.”