Michael Swanson -- the kid who couldn't stop laughing after being accused of killing two people -- will be tried as an adult for at least one murder count.
Last month, the 17-year-old requested to move his case to juvenile court where he'd be protected from a harsher sentence, but a Humboldt County judge has denied the motion, according to court records. A similar motion for the second charge is still pending.[jump]
The judge's decision is bad news for Swanson. Iowa law stipulates that, if he's convicted of first-degree murder, Swanson will face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole, says Jerry R. Foxhoven, executive director of the Drake Legal Clinic in Iowa.
"Unless he's convicted of a lower offense, that's what he's going to get," says Foxhoven. "So the only way he would ever get out is if a governor came along and commuted his sentence, which is not very likely."
If a judge had granted the request, juvenile court could only sentence Swanson for up to 18 months.
According to the charges, Swanson took a road trip to Iowa last November with his parents' Jeep and gun. He held up two gas station clerks and, even though they gave up the money, Swanson shot them anyway.
The alleged shootings took place in two different counties, so Swanson is up against two different courts.
After his arrest, Swanson couldn't stop laughing at all press who came to see the show. When one reporter asked him why he was laughing, Swanson replied, "Ya'll are funny."
We imagine the novelty is probably fading by now.
Swanson will face trials for the murder charges in Kossuth and Humboldt counties this summer.