Ethan Orton who plead guilty to the murders of his parents just found out he is going to spend a very long time behind bars
According to court documents Ethan Orton would murder his parents Misty Scott-Slade and Casey Orton in order to take charge of his life. The two victims would be stabbed repeatedly and his mother was also hit with an ax
Ethan Orton would plead guilty to two counts of first degree murder and now he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for fifty years
Ethan Orton Case
The Cedar Rapids teen who admitted to killing his parents in 2021 will stay in prison at least until he’s in his sixties.
Ethan Orton was sentenced to life in prison Monday afternoon. He is eligible for parole after 50 years.
Orton pleaded guilty in March to stabbing his parents, Misty Scott-Slade and Casey Orton, to death in their home.
Under Iowa law, first-degree murder means life in prison without the possibility for parole. The exception is for juvenile defendants. Orton was five months away from being 18 at the time of his crime. How long until he would be eligible for parole was the question at the center of Monday’s sentencing.
Both the defense and prosecution called an expert witness to testify to the impact of Orton’s history and his mental capacity at the time of the killings.
Dr. Tracy Thomas, a forensic psychologist, helped the defense paint a picture of Orton as a vulnerable person in an emotionally abusive home. Dr. Thomas detailed what she called a suicide attempt when Orton was 10 or 11 in which he drank bleach. She also outlined what she thought was the impetus for the “breakdown” that led to Orton killing his parents.
“His mother had sent an email while he was at school, and the email essentially said ‘When you turn 18, you’re out of the house. We’re done with you. Plan on being gone,” said Thomas. She went on to say Orton wasn’t able to “rationalize” th e email.
“This offense was the result of, essentially, a complete breakdown,” said Thomas.
However, prosecutors pointed out Orton has not been diagnosed with any major mental illness. They presented a story in which, rather than a breakdown, there was a plan.
“The first conclusion and the entire conclusion was that he was normal,” said Dr. Daniel Tranel, witness for the prosecution. He added Orton “did not meet the criteria for diminished responsibility.”
About Orton’s home life, the state’s witness said it wasn’t “optimal” but added there are those who have it worse.
“I did not see anything profoundly abnormal or severely wrong with his developmental environment,” said Tranel.
Assistant Linn County Attorney Michael Harris added, “He reports that he was not treated well by his parents, but I would ask the court, what teenager truly thinks that they are?”
The defense asked for life with the possibility for parole after ten years, but the judge believed Orton’s age, maturity, and home life weren’t strong mitigating factors.
Both sides’ expert witnesses agreed Ethan Orton is a good candidate for rehabilitation and treatment while in prison.