Wednesday, December 24, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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3 Teens Sentenced In Quincy Murders


EPHRATA - Family members of an elderly couple slain in their Quincy farmhouse faced the teenagers who participated in the killings and asked a judge yesterday to impose lengthy sentences.

Grant County Superior Court Judge Evan Sperline sentenced Adam Betancourt to 50 years and Marcus "David" Wawers to 24 years for their parts in the slaying of Homer and Vada Smithson. Betancourt and Wawers both are 16.

A third defendant, 16-year-old Melanie Hinkle, was sentenced to 10 years.

Betancourt, who had pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, was accused of shooting Vada Smithson, 88, and Homer Smithson, 89, on May 21.

Wawers had pleaded guilty to two charges of second-degree murder by complicity.

Hinkle pleaded guilty to reduced charges of conspiracy to commit second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit residential burglary.

More than two dozen members of the Smithson family were in court for the sentencing hearing. Both Betancourt and Wawers said they were sorry for the killings, but family members didn't accept their apologies.

"When I see you ask this family for mercy, I ask how much mercy did my grandparents get," said Dick Smithson, a grandson of the couple. "Lord, forgive me, but I will never forgive you."

A fourth defendant, 16-year-old Donald Lambert, was sentenced this month to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated first-degree murder in the


Prosecutors described Lambert as the leader of the group.

The Smithsons apparently were shot as part of a scheme to steal guns from their rural home and shoot up the home of an unidentified police officer, court documents indicate.

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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