SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (WWJ/AP) – A judge has decided that two teens accused of murdering a vacationing Michigan couple will be tried as adults.
Seventeen-year-old Anthony Zarro, of Spring, Texas, and 16-year-old Christopher Allen, of Nashville, Tenn., appeared in court for arraignment on Friday. Both pleaded not guilty to several charges, including first-degree murder and armed criminal action, in the January deaths of Paul and Margaret Brooks.
The Brooks, who were from Baldwin, Michigan, were found slain at their son’s lake house in Lampe, located just north of the Missouri-Arkansas state line. They were vacationing at the time. Authorities say the couple was beaten and stabbed to death.
Citing the seriousness and viciousness of the attack on the couple, Circuit Court Judge Alan Blankenship said there are no reasonable prospects for rehabilitating the boys.
Officials said the teens had run away from Lives Under Construction Ranch, a nearby facility for at-risk youth, on Jan. 29. Investigators believe the teens broke into an unoccupied home next to the Brooks’ and stayed there for several days before the killings occurred.
The teens were arrested on Jan. 31 after a neighbor called police to tell them he was holding two young men at gunpoint after confronting them for suspicious behavior.
When deputies arrived on the scene about 15 minutes later, they reportedly asked the teens if there were other people in the house, and Zarro said yes, “I killed them. I beat them with a baseball bat and stabbed them,” the Springfield News-Leader reported.
Police say further investigation revealed that the killings likely occurred in the kitchen, and then the bodies were moved to a bedroom. Police also said it appeared that teens tried to clean up the crime scene.
Zarro and Allen are due back in court for preliminary hearings on May 29. They are each being held in the Stone County Jail on a $2 million bond.
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