A teen who fatally shot his mother and 15-year-old sister inside their Parker County home was sentenced to 45 years in prison Thursday in a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Jacob Ryan “Jake” Evans, who was 17 at the time of the 2012 slayings, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder. As part of the plea, the state waived a capital murder charge.
Evans, who turns 20 in May, must serve at least half his sentence before becoming eligible for parole. He will be given credit for the 21/2 years he has been held in jail or in a state mental hospital while awaiting trial.
Evans had been ordered to a state mental hospital in October after he was ruled incompetent to stand trial. On Monday, a competency evaluation stating that Evans had been restored to competency was filed in court and Thursday’s plea hearing was scheduled.
Evans is a former Aledo High School student but was being home-schooled by his mother at the time of the slayings.
Mac Smith, Evans’ court-appointed attorney, read a letter at the hearing signed by several of Evans’ relatives. It said that although they would support a lesser sentence, 45 years is a “fair plea bargain under all circumstances.”
“None of us want Jake and our family to be subjected to a capital murder trial, which we feel would not be in his and our family’s best interest,” the letter says. “We wish to close this chapter of our lives in order to continue healing as a family.”
Prosecutor Robert DuBoise said the forgiveness shown by the family is inspiring, “with how quickly they forgave him and how wholly they embraced him. It’s just awe-inspiring to see that amount of love for this kid.”
On Oct. 4, 2012, Evans called 911, telling a dispatcher, “Uh, I just killed my mom and my sister.”
“I felt like they were just suffocating me, in a way,” he said, according to a recording of the 911 call. “Obviously, you know, I’m pretty, I guess, evil.”
Parker County deputies found Jami Evans and daughter Mallory dead of multiple gunshot wounds inside the house, in the 150 block of River Creek Lane in Annetta South.
Evans was arrested at the scene.
In a written statement, he told investigators that he had devised a plan to kill several relatives after watching Rob Zombie’s remake of the movie Halloween, in which a boy murders relatives.
“While watching it I was amazed at how at ease the boy was during the murders and how little remorse he had afterward,” Evans wrote. “I was thinking to myself, it would be the same for me when I kill someone.”
Sheriff’s officials have said Evans used a gun stolen from his grandfather, a retired Fort Worth officer. Evans told investigators that he had intended to kill his grandparents and two other sisters later.
But after killing his mom and sister, Evans — in a state he described as “very shocked and scared” — instead placed the gun on the kitchen counter and called 911.
“I know now though that I’m done with killing. It’s the most dreadful and terrifying thing I will ever experience. And what happened last night will haunt me forever.”
Delays in prosecution
The capital murder case against Evans had been in legal limbo for some time.
The U.S. Supreme Court had already banned death sentences for defendants 17 and younger and later ruled that life without parole for defendants under 18 is also unconstitutional.
Those were the only Texas options for teens accused of capital murder.
Though the state Legislature has since tried to fix the issue, DuBoise said Thursday that “we weren’t sure whether that fix is going to hold up and stand constitutional scrutiny.”
Given that, along with the family’s wishes, Evans’ age and his lack of a criminal history, the plea agreement reached Thursday was the “best solution,” DuBoise said.
Smith declined to discuss what mental issues had reportedly afflicted Evans but called them “significant enough that he couldn’t stand trial.”
He expressed gratitude to Rusk State Hospital for restoring Evans’ competency, as well as to all of those involved in the case. He said the family is ready to continue healing.
“This is a horrible tragedy. When that happens, it’s just impossible to know how as a family you’re supposed to deal with it,” Smith said. “They have been working hard to deal with all the circumstances.”
Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655