Adoptive father of murder suspect wants him treated as adult

By Steve Hansen and Thomas Garcia
QCS Staff

Mike Day, the adoptive father of double-murder suspect Tony Day, 15, wants to see the boy treated as an adult.

In a letter delivered to Tenth Judicial District Attorney Tim Rose, the elder Day wrote that he “would like to see him (Tony Day) sentenced as an adult and receive what anybody else would serve for a double murder.”

Tony Day is accused of slaying his adoptive mother, Mike Day’s wife, Sue Day, and his adoptive sister Sherry Folts in their home Nov. 14, 2012.

The elder Day also said in the letter that he wants a determination of how Tony Day might be sentenced to occur before a trial of the facts in the case. The younger Day has been charged with murder as an adult in both deaths.

“At the present time,” the letter said, “after the trial, even if he (Tony Day) is tried as an adult, then they can still sentence him as a juvenile, which means even though he killed two people, he would only have to serve time until he is 21, which would only be six years.”

Day’s letter later states, “A trial would only open up old wounds if he would be sentenced as a juvenile. It would be a waste of time and money to continue dragging this out to have him serve six years. Just lock him up if this is to be a juvenile sentencing. If it would be an adult sentence, then we would have the trial and take our chances.”

Under a New Mexico law that only a few other states share, a trial of the facts of the case is presumed to occur before a determination of whether a juvenile defendant would respond well to behavioral health treatment.

If this “amenability” proceeding takes place before the trial, the findings from that hearing would influence the sentence and could result in a guilty plea before trial, attorneys for the prosecution and the defense agree.

Judge Albert Mitchell has granted a joint prosecution and defense motion to hold the amenability proceeding before the trial, but that ruling faces a challenge from the state’s Children, Youth and Families Dept.

CYFD asserts that reversing the proceedings violates state law. A hearing is scheduled Dec. 17 on whether CYFD should be allowed to intervene in the case, as well as on the subject of its motion.

In August, both Rose and Day’s defense attorney Jeffrey Buckels agreed to hold the amenability hearing before the trial begins. Their motion to reverse the usual order of proceedings, which Mitchell granted, stated, “The law presumes but does not require that the adjudication of guilt will precede the finding that the juvenile is not amenable to treatment. All that is required is that both preconditions be met.”

In his letter, Mike Day said he has been “working with the D.A.’s office and also Rep. Dennis Roch in trying to get a change in the law so that we would know before the trial how they are going to sentence Tony Day.”

Following is the text of Mike Day’s letter:

To the citizens of Tucumcari:

I would like to take this time to thank you for your support and concern in the matter of Sue Day’s death and our daughter Sherry’s.

I have been working with the D.A.’s office and also Rep. Dennis Roch in trying to get a change in the law so that we would know before the trial how they are going to sentence Tony Day. At the present time, after the trial, even if he is tried as an adult, then they can still sentence him as a juvenile, which means even though he killed two people, he would only have to serve time until he is 21, which would only be six years. I would like to see him sentenced as an adult and receive what anybody else would serve for a double murder.

Please help me in getting this law changed, as a trial would only open old wounds if he would be sentenced as a juvenile.

It would be a waste of time and money to continue dragging this out to have him serve 6 years. Just lock him up if this is going to be a juvenile sentencing.

If it would be an adult sentence, then we would have the trial and take our chances.

Again, thank you for your support and concern for me and mine.

Respectfully,

Mike Day

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