Alex Crain to plead guilty to killing parents
March 21, 2012
COLLIER COUNTY, FL - A Collier County teen accused of killing
his parents will plead guilty in April, according to his attorney
Alex Crain, 15, will change his
plea as apart of a deal with the State Attorney's Office, Bieber said.
Thomas and Kelly Crain were
found shot to death inside their Golden Gate Estates home in December
2010. Crain, who is being charged as an adult, originally pleaded not
guilty to two counts of manslaughter.
"He's doing the best he can
under the circumstances, and he's remaining focused," Bieber said
about his client. "In tragic cases like this, there are no winners.
There never are."
Crain has received two mental
evaluations. Bieber says the details of those evaluations reveal what
may have driven the boy to kill his parents.
"A psychological component that
doctors have identified, which does not excuse criminal conduct, but
helps explain it," Bieber said.
Bieber says details of the plea
deal are still being worked out.
"It can never erase what
happened, but it can begin the healing process on a certain level,"
The maximum sentence Crain faces
is 60 years, the general guideline is about 20, Bieber said.
April trial date set for teen accused of killing
By Sabina Bhasin - NaplesNews.com
August 29, 2011
An April 23 trial date has
been set for
Alexander Crain, the 15-year-old Golden Gate Estates teen who is
accused of killing his parents, Thomas and Kelly Crain, in December.
Collier Circuit Judge Frederick Hardt also approved
an April 18 pre-trial date. Both are set for 9 a.m.
The teen, who will be tried as an adult, was not
present in court on Monday. He remained in the Collier County jail,
but in the juvenile wing.
Two weeks ago a motion to exclude all photographic
and electronic media during further pre-trial and eventual trial
coverage was denied by Hardt. But Brian Bieber, one of Crain’s
attorneys who brought the motion forth, filed a separate request to
exclude Crain from attending the case management hearing on Monday.
Bieber reasoned that the hearing would be brief, would discuss
scheduling matters and Crain did not need to be present.
Attorney Mark Rankin, another one of Crain’s
attorneys, represented him Monday. He said there have been discussions
about a possible plea deal, but so far prosecutors have not made an
official offer, NBC-2 reported.
14-year-old Alex Crain charged as adult with manslaughter for killing
March 10, 2011
NAPLES, Fla. - Alex Crain, the 14-year-old boy
arrested in the shooting deaths of his parents, has been charged as an
adult with two counts of manslaughter with a firearm.
Each count, a first-degree felony, carries a
maximum 30-year prison sentence.
Crain is accused of shooting parents Thomas and
Kelly Crain in the family’s Golden Gate Estates home on Dec. 9. He was
originally arrested on a pair of second-degree murder charges.
Crain is at the Naples Jail Center, where he is
being held in medical housing as “a precaution,” Collier County
Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Michelle Batten said. He would be moved
to a juvenile wing of the jail when medically cleared, Batten said.
“He’s separated from other adults,” she said.
Crain will appear on Thursday before a Collier
Circuit judge, who will determine whether to set a bond for the
Tuesday’s formal filing by Assistant State Attorney
Richard Montecalvo follows a lengthy review of the case by the State
Attorney’s Office. Crain’s family and attorneys sought to have him
charged as a juvenile, a path that would result in milder penalties
than an adult filing.
A psychiatric evaluation of Crain was conducted on
behalf of the state, and Crain’s attorneys had two more performed, the
results of which they shared with prosecutors.
“(The decision) was based on all of the facts and
evidence we are able to review at this time,” State Attorney’s Office
spokeswoman Samantha Syoen said.
Crain’s grandmother, Nancy Ward, declined comment
Reached by phone, Crain attorney Mark Rankin said
he and co-counsel Brian Bieber anticipated the filing, following a
conversation with prosecutors.
Although the adult filing goes against the family’s
wishes, Rankin said they were heartened murder charges were not filed.
“It’s culpable negligence instead of intent to
kill,” he said of the distinction. “And I think the state looked at
our doctors’ reports and their own doctor’s report and evaluated the
unique circumstances—that he’s such a young kid, that it’s his
Second-degree murder carries a maximum life
sentence in prison.
Little evidence has been released publicly in the
case. Deputies found the bodies of Thomas, 40, and Kelly, 39, in the
master bedroom of their home at 4240 47th Ave. NE, following an
emergency call from the home at 8:30 a.m.
Crain was the only other person inside the home.
Evidence of what happened before the shooting, and
Crain’s mindset, have yet to be made public.
Such factors are central to a prosecutor’s
determination of how to file against a juvenile, said Abe Laeser, a
Dade County attorney who spent 36 years as a prosecutor in the 11th
Circuit State Attorney’s Office in South Florida.
Not all crimes are created equal, and neither are
all juveniles, Laeser said. The psychiatric evaluations in Crain’s
case likely plumbed the teenager’s maturity, as well as his mental
“Ultimately I’m going to try to get as much
information as I can about the sophistication of the child,” he said.
“Age of course is an issue, their mental history, if known, their
More evidence will come out of the case once the
state begins sharing its evidence with Crain’s defense attorney.
The case is one of several high-profile homicides
involving juveniles in recent months.
Last August, 13-year-old Jonathan Rowles was
arrested after Collier detectives say he shot and killed his mother in
their East Naples home. Prosecutors charged Rowles with a manslaughter
as a juvenile.
In January, deputies arrested Jorge Saavedra, 14 at
the time, on a manslaughter charge after they say he stabbed fellow
Palmetto Ridge High student Dylan Nuno, 16, during a fight outside a
Golden Gate Estates bus stop. Prosecutors charged Saavedra last week
with armed manslaughter, as a juvenile.
Crain, like Saavedra, was a freshman at Palmetto
Ridge High School.
Past homicide cases involving juveniles tried as
adults have received heavy attention in the media. Among the most
notorious are the Lords of Chaos and Cash Feenz, both Lee County cases
involving older juveniles.
In the Lords of Chaos case, a gang of teens that
included 17-year-old Pete Magnotti murdered high school Mark Schwebes.
Magnotti is now serving a 32-year prison sentence.
The Cash Feenz killings saw three juveniles charged
and sentenced as adults in the murders of teenagers Alexis and Jeffrey
Sosa. Ashley Toye and Roderick Washington, both 17 at the time, were
sentenced to life. Iriana Santos, 16 at the time, pleaded and received
In Collier, teenagers Mazer Jean and Jermaine Jones
received life sentences after murdering a guard at an Ochopee juvenile
detention camp in 1998. Jean was 17 at the time; Jones was 16.
Other juvenile homicide cases are less aggravated,
involving vehicle crashes or accidents.
In a recent Collier case, Riccardo Rivas, 18,
pleaded no contest on Tuesday to a vehicular homicide charge from a
2009 crash. Rivas, who was 16 at the time of the accident, was
sentenced as a youthful offender to one year in prison and four on
Crain’s attorneys may seek the same designation. A
youthful offender distinction during sentencing caps a defendant’s
maximum incarceration at six years, to be served in a separate
facility from adult prisoners.
“That’s at least within the realm of
possibilities,” Rankin said of the designation.
Laeser, the former prosecutor, said the program has
a downside. A youthful offender who violates probation may face the
full guideline sentence, he said.
Golden Gate teen accused of slaying his parents
breaks down in court
By Aisling Swift - MarcoNews.com
December 10, 2010
Fourteen-year-old Alexander Thomas Crain, charged with shooting his
parents to death, quietly cried in court today as a judge ordered him
held in secure juvenile detention for 21 days.
Crain’s grandmother, Nancy S. Ward, stood with
Crain, who clasped his hands behind his back, and defense attorney Lee
Hollander as about 20 family members packed the small courtroom’s
first three rows and sobbed quietly.
“Based on the allegations, if charged as an adult,
Mr. Crain will face the restrictions of the 10-20-Life Law because of
the use of a firearm,” Assistant State Attorney Rich Montecalvo told
Collier Circuit Judge Elizabeth Krier.
The teen, who wore a blue juvenile jail uniform,
stood almost frozen, appearing terrified. His head bowed, his lips
pursed, he sobbed quietly as he waited for a bailiff to give him court
papers listing his arraignment date, Dec. 30. That’s when Montecalvo
is expected to tell the judge whether he will be tried as an adult or
a juvenile in the deaths of his parents, 40-year-old Thomas and Kelly
Crain, 39, of Golden Gate Estates.
Alex Crain, a freshman at Palmetto Ridge High School, has no prior
criminal record, so if he’s charged as a juvenile, the maximum he
could be held in a juvenile center would be until he turns 21. Under
the state’s 10-20-Life Law involving crimes with a gun, Crain would
face life on the two second-degree murder charges if he’s prosecuted
as an adult.
Crain was arrested Thursday morning by Collier
County Sheriff’s deputies after a 911 call from the home on 47th
Avenue Northeast . The call, which lasted 16 minutes and 40 seconds,
came in at 8:30 a.m. Deputies haven’t said whether the boy made the
call, but the report shows no one else was in the home when Crain
walked down the driveway, holding his hands up, toward sheriff’s
detectives Andrew Henchesmoore and Sgt. Devid Jolicouer.
As Detective Matt Willard pointed his gun at the
boy, Henchesmoore searched him and handcuffed him before placing him
in a patrol car. Crain told him only his parents were in the home, the
report said, and the gun, a rifle, was in a bathroom.
Family members declined comment as they left the
courtroom with private investigator John Hisler, who has been retained
by Hollander. The defense attorney acted as a court-appointed lawyer
today, until the family decides whether to retain him privately.
“He’s in shock,” Hollander said of the teen,
declining to say whether he’d been on any medications. “The picture in
the paper pretty much summed it up.”
Hollander said family members are standing by the
“If he was to be released, obviously, they would
want him to come home,” he said. “The family members are the victims
Hollander wouldn’t speak about details, saying he
was just called Thursday by a Tampa attorney, who asked him to handle
the arraignment this morning.
If he and Hisler are hired, he said, they would
work toward building a case to have him tried as a juvenile. Hollander
cited the 10-20-Life Law, which has mandatory sentences involving
crimes with guns, adding: “That’s one of the reasons I have to try to
get him not charged as an adult.”
Second-degree murder, which involves a killing that
wasn’t premeditated, is a first-degree felony punishable by a prison
term of 40 years to life. The charge involves a killing committed
during another crime. Deputies have not said what that crime was.
The 10-20-Life Law sets guidelines for the minimum
a convict must serve before he or she can be released. In Crain’s
case, if he is convicted as an adult, he would be required to serve a
minimum mandatory of 25 years or up to life in prison.
Noting Crain’s young age and that most teens
charged as adults in murders are often 16 or 17 at the youngest, he
said he hoped the State Attorney’s Office would prosecute him as a
“He’s had no prior run-ins with the law and under
the statute, charging him as an adult is discretionary, rather than
mandatory,” Hollander added.
Ward, the boy’s grandmother and a licensed
practical nurse, is a former business partner of Kelly Crain. The
women operated NankelCompumed from 1999 to 2004. The Crains operated
Crain Screening and Aluminum Inc., a company they started in 2002, out
of their home.
There was no new information about how the killings
occurred, the type of rifle used or if the couple was sleeping at the
“We’ve been working closely with the Collier County
Sheriff’s Office since this incident happened and we have not received
the case yet for review,” said Samantha Syoen, spokeswoman for the
State Attorney’s Office. “Once the Collier County Sheriff’s Office
completes their investigation, we will review the case for possible
The boy is being held the maximum number of days in
secure juvenile detention on charges filed by the arresting agency.
Formal charges still must be filed by the State Attorney’s Office for
any prosecution to move forward.