A Utah teen who’s accused of executing his family one by one as they arrived home last Friday will be tried as an adult, prosecutors announced Wednesday.
Colin “CJ” Haynie, 16, allegedly confessed to fatally shooting his mother, Consuelo Alejandra Haynie, 52, his sisters Alexis, 15, and Milan, 12, and his brother Matthew, 14, last week. The teen’s father, Colin Haynie Sr., was grazed by a bullet but survived the shooting.
Haynie was originally charged as a juvenile, but the Tooele County Attorney’s Office upgraded charges after reviewing the case. Prosecutors cited state law, explaining murder suspects 16 years and older are automatically charged as adults. He could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
A newly released timeline shows that the slew of deadly shootings began in the early afternoon on Jan. 17, according to a probable cause statement obtained by Oxygen.com. Haynie, who police believe laid in wait, allegedly ambushed his parents and siblings with a barrage of gunfire as they returned home for the day over the course of roughly four hours.
The youth’s first victims, officials say were his mother and 12-year-old sister, who were shot to death shortly after 1 p.m. Haynie allegedly fired multiple rounds from a handgun into their “heads, necks, and/or upper bodies,” according to the probable cause statement
The teen’s 15-year-old sister, Alexis, then got to the house, and was also shot in the head and upper body several times. Around 5:17 p.m., the youth shooter then allegedly shot his brother Matthew once in the head as he arrived home, killing him.
The boy’s father, Colin Haynie Sr., who stepped into the house approximately an hour later, was shot in the leg as he entered the home. A brief struggle ensued, and the 50-year-old-man was clubbed on the head with an “unknown object,” prosecutors said. The father said he pleaded for his life, telling his son that his mother would be “sad” if he killed him.
The 16-year-old allegedly replied by telling him they were already dead. The wounded parent then somehow snatched the gun away from his son. The two were later transported to a hospital where the teen “peacefully surrendered” to police, authorities said in a press conference Monday. He has allegedly confessed to the mass slaying but has since refused to cooperate with investigators.
Authorities said the teenager had planned to eliminate his entire family, telling his father that “his intention was to kill everyone in the house except himself,” the probable cause statement said.
“It’s shocking news,” Grantsville police Corporal Rhonda Fields told Oxygen.com. “It’s beyond words. It’s an unbelievable reality that we have to accept now.”
The family’s oldest child, Danny, was away at college at the time of the shootings and was thus unharmed. An attorney for the family also said Colin Haynie Sr. is expected to recover.
“Colin [Sr.] can hardly comprehend what has happened,” David Isom, the family’s lawyer, said in a statement sent to Oxygen.com on Thursday. “As you can imagine, this loss is almost unbearable… As he looks forward, Colin will need, and he respectfully requests, time and privacy to grieve and to heal himself and those he loves, including both of his sons."
Isom added the family is cooperating with detectives. However, police have yet to release a motive in the alarming quadruple slaying.
“There’s absolutely not one — I haven’t seen anything that would satisfy my inquiry as to what could have led to it,” Fields, the Grantsville police corporal, added. “No one felt like they had an indication that anything was wrong, so it's making a lot of people reflect on what we believe and what we see isn’t always what’s actually going on.”
Fields said the family wasn’t previously known to law enforcement. She also stated the investigation into the family murders could drag on for several months.
“They’re just sifting through everything — a lot of the evidence is DNA,” Fields said.
The Haynies’ children, who were home-schooled up until recently, attended a local high school, as well as a charter school. Fields said they were “reserved,” and described the suspected teen shooter as a “quiet” young man.
“We are extremely shocked and saddened to learn of the events that occurred [on] January 17,” Grantsville High School said in a statement. “This truly was a tragic incident. As our community mourns the loss of its community members, it is important that we stand together to care for and support each other through this difficult time.”
School officials said counseling services would be available for students in the wake of the family shooting.
Fields said the small city of Grantsville — about 35 miles west of Salt Lake City — hasn’t recorded a murder in 20 years. She said the community is increasingly “distraught” as details continue to pour out about what transpired at the family’s home last week.
Roughly 1,000 people attended a candlelit vigil for the family earlier this week and more than $100,000 has been raised for the family online. A funeral is planned for the family on Friday.
“Tragedy tends to bring people and a community together,” Fields added.
The suspect’s first court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 27.
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