Saying he wasn't convinced that Jason Aaron DeLong wouldn't kill again if released, a Carroll Circuit judge yesterday sentenced the 19-year-old Westminster man to life in prison for conspiring to kill his mother.
"I'm not convinced that Jason DeLong, if turned loose from Clifton T. Perkins Hospital, would not kill again, and that it would not be a woman and not have sexual overtones," Judge Francis M. Arnold said after a six-hour sentencing hearing.
"There has to be punishment in this case. I would be derelict in my duties if I didn't impose any."
In September, a Carroll jury found DeLong guilty but not criminally responsible in the deaths of his mother, Cathryn Brace Farrar, and her boyfriend, George William Wahl.
The panel found him guilty, and criminally responsible, of conspiracy to kill his mother.
Since the jury's finding, DeLong has been committed to Perkins, where he will remain until he is no longer deemed to be a danger to himself or others. Then he would be transferred to state prison to serve the rest of his sentence.
In a minute-long address to the judge, DeLong apologized for the killings and asked for continued psychiatric treatment.
"I'm very sorry for what happened," he said. "I didn't mean for this to happen. I don't know why it is taking so long to get help. All I've wanted is to get help."
The sentence was a partial victory for DeLong and his attorneys, who had tried to convince the judge that the maximum sentence allowed for conspiracy was 10 years.
Although the judge vehemently disagreed with that, he ordered the life sentence to run from Aug. 5, 1993, the day DeLong and his co-defendant, Sara Elizabeth Citroni, were arrested and charged in the slayings. As a result, DeLong is effectively serving his life sentence while he gets treatment. His first parole hearing should be in about 14 years, and parole experts have estimated that most people serving life sentences have a reasonable chance of parole after serving 20 years. The judge could have ordered the sentence to begin after DeLong is released from Perkins. Ms. Farrar, 39, and Mr. Wahl, 35, were stabbed more than 100 times in Ms. Farrar's Westminster apartment in July 1993. DeLong contended that he murdered them because he snapped after years of relentless physical and sexual abuse at the hands of his mother. Citroni, who pleaded guilty in the slayings, is serving two consecutive life sentences. She will probably not be eligible for parole for at least another 40 years, experts say.