Two 16-year-olds, Raheem Vaughn Benson of Littleton and Louis Fernando Lara-Macias Englewood have been charged in the murder of Blackbird Public House chef Nicholas Lewis.
The pair face counts of first-degree murder after deliberation, first-degree felony murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and attempted aggravated robbery, according to a release from the 18th Judicial District’s Office of the D.A.
If a juvenile is convicted of first-degree felony murder as an adult, the minimum sentence is 30 to 50 years, and in some rare circumstances, it’s 40 years to life.
If Benson and Lara-Macias are convicted, recently adopted state laws that govern sentencing for juveniles convicted of murder in adult court apply.
Under the new laws, a person younger than 18 who is convicted for first-degree murder after deliberation still gets 40 years to life, but can accrue earned time by participating in Department of Corrections programs. The person would get 10 days off a sentence for each month of participation, leading to parole eligibility after about 30½ years.
Sentenced to 30 years, parole opportunities would come up after about 22¾ years with earned time.
The new laws also created a program that, after 25 years in prison, allows someone younger than 18 who is convicted of murder in adult court — even without earned time — to participate and become eligible for parole granted by the governor after 28 years.
They could even petition for a special program after 20 years, putting them out on parole in about 23 years.