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Tuesday, July 11, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Teen murderer gets 26-plus years for killing playmate

The Associated Press

EPHRATA — A 15-year-old boy was sentenced Monday to more than 26 years in prison for beating and stabbing a playmate to death three years ago, closing one of the most brutal murders ever committed by a juvenile in Washington state.

Evan Savoie, of Ephrata, showed no emotion when Grant County Superior Court Judge Ken Jorgensen imposed the maximum sentence. He smiled slightly as he was led away in handcuffs.

Savoie was 12 years old when he and a friend were charged with first-degree murder in the Feb. 15, 2003, death of Craig Sorger, a developmentally disabled boy who had last been seen playing with them in a recreational-vehicle park. Sorger's bloody body was found hours later with dozens of stab wounds.

Savoie repeatedly proclaimed his innocence. The other friend at the park that day, Jake Eakin, eventually changed his story and testified against him at trial. Eakin pleaded guilty to second-degree murder by complicity and is serving 14 years.

Defense attorneys argued that justice would no better be served by issuing the maximum sentence. Standard sentencing range for first-degree murder is between 20 years and 26 years.

"This is a tragic incident for everybody involved," defense attorney Randy Smith said. "But the likelihood that rehabilitation is going to be any more effective after 26 years than after 20 years is ridiculous."

Jorgensen disagreed, saying the punishment must match the crime. Savoie brutally attacked Sorger, leaving him bleeding, pleading for help and crying out that he was dying on a wooded trail, he said.

He later added: "Somebody is going to have to figure out how a 12-year-old can be so violent, so young."

Holly Parent, Savoie's mother, continued to insist her son is innocent. She said neither Evan nor Craig received justice in the case.

"The killer is still out there," she said. "Now we're going to appeal. And I'm not giving up. My son is innocent, and I'm going to fight."

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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