SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah man pleaded guilty Tuesday to fatally shooting his mother and three siblings when he was a teenager in 2020.
Colin “CJ” Haynie, who is now 19 and goes by his middle name of Jeffery, killed his mother and one of his sisters as they returned from her school pickup, then waited for two more siblings to arrive home and killed them, prosecutors said.
His father came back to the home later that evening and was shot in the leg but survived after wrestling the gun away from his son.
After the father subdued him, the then-16-year-old said that he had planned to kill everyone in his family at their home in the small town of Grantsville, near Salt Lake City, authorities said.
Authorities have said they don’t know his motive.
Jeffery Haynie pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated murder and one count of attempted murder on Tuesday. Several other weapons charges were dismissed in the plea agreement, court documents show.
He had been charged as an adult by prosecutors because of the seriousness of the Jan. 17, 2020, crime.
His attorney, Richard Van Wagoner, said in a statement that prosecutors agreed to let his client stay in the juvenile justice system until he is 25 under a new law that went into effect this year in Utah. That will enable Jeffery Haynie to get access to education and mental health programs designed for younger people.
“Jeffery has wanted to accept responsibility,” Van Wagoner said. “Jeffery was a troubled teen and lacked certain abilities and resources.”
The victims were his mother, Consuelo Alejandra Haynie, 52; his sisters Milan and Alexis, ages 12 and 15; and his 14-year-old brother Matthew.
The family’s oldest child, Danny Haynie, was not home at the time of the shootings. At a funeral for the family members in 2020 at their local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ congregation, Danny Haynie said that CJ Haynes was still loved and part of the family.
Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 7. Aggravated murder in Utah typically carries the possibility of the death penalty, but state prosecutors cannot seek it for people convicted of crimes that happened when they were under 18 even if their cases are moved to adult court.
So Haynie faces a prison sentence of 25 years to life for each aggravated murder conviction under state law.