Two life sentences, plus 40 more years with the possibility of parole.
Nathaniel Jouett, 18, is sentenced to less time than what the state was asking for. The judge sentenced him to two life sentences, which will run concurrently–meaning he will serve them both at the same time.
Jouett’s counsel was asking for only 20 years in prison with parole, claiming he was in, “Psychological turmoil, in the years leading up to the shooting,” and said his childhood was difficult.
However, the judge ruled the lives of those he took deserved a harsher sentence.
Back in 2017, Wanda Walters and Kristina Carter were killed, and four others, including a 10-year-old boy, were injured, when Jouett opened fire inside the Clovis-Carver Public Library.
Jouett was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility, but not guarantee, of parole.
There was a lot going into the judge’s decision.
After the shooting, a search warrant was served, and notes outlining Jouett’s plan were found.
In court documents, police laid out then16-year-old Jouett’s plan, naming Clovis High School as his original target before he changed his mind.
Those documents also show Jouett admitted to the shooting that he, “had been planning for a while.”
Jouett took two guns from his dad’s safe at home and wanted to, in his words, “shoot up a school and then kill himself.” Instead, he wound up at the library.
The judge today took all of this into account, plus testimony from doctors who evaluated Jouett’s mental state during and leading up to the shooting. But, the judge says Jouett acted alone and knew what he was doing.
“What Dr. Kavanaugh testified to, is that studies have shown even the presence of peers, such as through social media, can lead to more risk-taking behaviors. Nathanial posted the photo of the backpack holding the weapons and ammunition on social media while he was in the library, with the caption, ‘It begins,'” said Judge James Hudson.
Another difficulty the judge said he faced in his decision was the fact that while a grand jury ruled to try Jouett as an adult, he could still be sentenced as a juvenile since he was 16 at the time of the shooting. The argument that juveniles are more likely to be rehabilitated than adults is what contributed to the judge’s decision to leave a possibility for parole.
Another stipulation the judge put into place, which is expected, is that Jouett cannot initiate contact with any of the victims or the victims’ family members.
Jouett also faces 40 additional years in prison for the injuries of the others, which will be served consecutively to his two life sentences for the two murders.
New Mexico does not have capital punishment. It was abolished there in 2009.
Maggie Glynn will have more on this story on KAMR Local 4 News at 6:00, 10:00, and Fox 14 News at 9:00.