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Murder victim’s family outraged over plea agreement given to double homicide suspect

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- In an El Paso County courtroom Monday, family members of two juvenile murder victims were outraged over a plea agreement offered to the 20-year-old homicide suspect. 20-year-old Kadin Blaschke pleaded guilty to 2nd-degree murder charges stemming from the double homicide of 13-year-old Marcus Venezio-Hernandez and 15-year-old Nevean Tafoya.

Court documents say Blaschke and a juvenile co-conspirator attempted to rob Venezio-Hernandez and Tafoya at the Summit Creek Apartments on January 9, 2022. Blaschke admitted to shooting and killing the juveniles in court on Monday. In total, Blaschke faced 42 counts of felonies and sentencing enhancers.

Kadin Blaschke

In exchange for a guilty plea, Blaschke will serve seven years in Colorado's "Youthful Offender System," a place where people between 14 and 19 years of age go to be rehabilitated rather than punished for their crimes. If Blaschke fails the conditions of his YOS sentence, he will spend 32 years in the Department of Corrections.

The YOS facility is in Pueblo at the Mental Health Institute of Pueblo. As described by El Paso County Judge Linda Margaret Billings Vela, the program consists of three phases:

  • Phase I: A highly structured schedule that includes educational and vocational classes,
  • Phase II: The last 3 months of the YOS program has a relaxed structure that emphasizes independent living at the YOS facility, and
  • Phase III: Inmates are released from the YOS facility for community supervision

If Blaschke completes the community supervision phase of YOS, he would be a free man in seven years.

"It feels unjustified," Marcus' mother Maria Evans said. "Now we just feel like they're looking out for the well-being of the suspects versus the victim."

13 Investigates found that the latest numbers released by the Colorado Department of Corrections show 52.8 percent of people sentenced to YOS, and complete the program, return to prison within five years.

"I feel like I'm losing again. I feel like it's blow after blow after blow," Evans said. I lost Marcus and that was devastating, and then you go and you're sitting in court and you find out that these boys are going to serve six years in a youth facility and get out for a year of parole and then be good to go."

Marcus Hernandez

Evans is also frustrated with recent changes to Colorado law in 2021, which made murder in the commission of a robbery a class-two felony instead of a class-one felony, a change that has significant impacts on how many years the accused can spend in prison, according to sentencing guidelines.

"How can I make his death not be in vain," Evans questioned. "That's changing that exact law that you can just get seven years. You can't stop these laws because ultimately they committed more than one crime. You committed a double homicide. You should have double the punishment."

Blaschke will not be sentenced until April 3. At that court date, Evans said she plans to attend and speak directly to Judge Billings Vela and urge her to not accept the plea agreement and sentence the 20-year-old to mandatory prison time in the Department of Corrections.

"In the beginning, I thought at least we are going to, we can get justice, until I have found myself in this position that I know that justice is not what we think it is," Evans said. "You caught the people who did it, but they're basically getting away with murder."

13 Investigates reached out to the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office for comment on the plea agreement and the victim's family's objections to it. A spokesperson said they could not comment because the case was still "pending."

Blaschke's public defender has not responded to our request for comment at the time of publication.

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Sean Rice

Sean is reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.

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