Jouett sentencing starting Monday


February 10, 2019

File photo

Nathaniel Jouett, now 18, pleaded guilty last year to 33 felony counts.

CLOVIS - A lengthy court process ensuing from the deadly shooting at the Clovis-Carver Public Library is almost at its end, with a five-day sentencing hearing starting Monday in Curry County.

Nathaniel Jouett, now 18, pleaded guilty last year to 33 felony counts resulting from the Aug. 28, 2017, violence, when he killed library employees Wanda Walters and Krissie Carter and sent four other people to the hospital. His sentence ranges from probation to multiple life sentences plus 96 years, and Judge James Hudson of Roswell has discretion on that ultimate ruling.

To that end attorneys will present video from the shooting, statements from victims as well as Jouett's family and input from mental health providers in making their recommendations to the judge.

District Attorney Andrea Reeb anticipates prosecutors taking up to two days with their initial portion of the hearing, including about 10 impact statements. She told The News she hadn't yet decided what the state will request for Jouett's exposure, but would announce that Monday morning when proceedings begin.

"We're still discussing that and probably it will be somewhat of a lengthy sentence, but we want to be able to present it to the judge with some reasoning as to why we would believe it would be an appropriate sentence," she said Friday evening.

Jouett's defense attorney said he wasn't sure if his client would speak during the hearing, though he would be present.

"I'll say it somewhat generally," Stephen Taylor told The News on Friday. "What Nathan would like to see happen is he would like to be able to continue with his rehabilitative efforts, and his hope is that the court will fashion a sentence that allows him to continue on the trajectory that he's been on since April, since he's been receiving treatment."

Taylor expects to only take about a day during his portion of the hearing, which will include statements via video from Jouett's family, input from the therapist treating him through the county Mental Health Resources agency, statements from a teacher that was close to him and "at least one person from the juvenile detention center."

Jouett surrendered himself to police on site after the shooting and has remained in custody since then. He told investigators that he was "mad at everyone" and had contemplated a shooting "for a long while." In video taken shortly before entering the library that Monday afternoon with a black camera bag and two handguns from his father's safe, Jouett apologized in advance and said he acted alone. He told police he originally planned to target Clovis High School, "didn't know anyone at the library" and fired randomly in the building.

Reeb announced after the incident she would prosecute Jouett, then 16, as an adult. Taylor argued last year that Jouett be considered for an amenability hearing to consider alternative rehabilitation treatment in place of incarceration, but Hudson denied that motion.

Both attorneys expect arguments before the judge will be complete before Thursday, at which time Hudson will consider his sentencing decision and make a ruling on Friday.


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