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Plea could net Caudle 54 years

Posted: Friday, Mar 25th, 2011

DEL NORTE — “I am sorry. I know what I did was wrong.”

John Caudle spoke publicly for the first time since the Oct. 26, 2009 day that he shot his mother and stepfather, Joanne and Tracy Rinebarger.

The people in the ten rows filled with Tracy’s family and friends leaned forward, seemingly intent on hearing every word.

Caudle had already pled guilty to one count of murder in the second degree for the death of Tracy, one count of reckless manslaughter for the death of his mother, and one count of crime of violence, a sentence enhancing charge that would double the number of years he would serve for the two crimes rather than serving the normal presumptive sentence.

The sentence without the third charge would have been eight to 24 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections with five years of mandatory parole. With the sentence enhancing charge of crime of violence the sentence range would be 16 to 54 years if the sentences for the two crimes were to be served consecutively, 16-48 if served concurrently. Five years mandatory parole would be attached to any sentence Caudle receives.

Caudle, whose mental state was described by one psychological expert as being similar to someone suffering from battered women’s syndrome according to the defense team in an earlier court date, described the day of the murders.

“I was grounded,” Caudle said. “It seemed I was grounded no matter what I did. My mom asked for a Dr. Pepper.”

He said he fixed the soda and set it on the counter and threw away the can. His mother started yelling at him because he had not handed the soda to her. He said she seemed “madder than usual” and just kept yelling.

“All the anger I had repressed over the years came out,” Caudle said. “I ran to my room and got a gun and shot her.”

Caudle said when he saw Tracy’s truck at the end of the driveway he was afraid of his stepfather’s reaction when he saw what he had done to his mother.

“I hid in the laundry room,” Caudle said.

He said Tracy saw his mom and started screaming.

“I shot him,” Caudle said. “He was still alive so I shot him again. I am sorry. I know what I did was wrong.”

Joanne and Tracy Rinebarger were found shot in their home in the Rock Creek area of Rio Grande County at about 2 p.m. on Oct. 27, 2009, by Tracy’s father, Ron Rinebarger. Joanne had been shot eight times, Tracy two times.

That same evening Caudle was arrested in Park County for driving Tracy’s truck in an “erratic manner.”

He was first housed in the Pueblo Youth Center, but was moved to the Rio Grande County Jail after he was charged as an adult.

Caudle originally had eight charges against him: Two counts of first degree murder; assault in the first degree causing serious bodily harm with a deadly weapon; aggravated motor vehicle theft in the second degree; theft; and violent crime causing death, a sentence enhancer.

Sentencing has been set for 9 a.m., June 6 and 7. Two days were set for the sentencing because of the number of people wishing to speak prior to the sentencing.

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