Zachary Callens was sixteen when he murdered his parents as they slept in Texas. According to court documents Zachary Callens was upset that his parents were thinking of sending him to a public school and that they were strict so he decided to murder them.
Zachary Callens would put on headphones and enter his parents room armed with a rifle that was equipped with a flashlight and would shoot and kill his parents. This teen killer would be ultimately convicted and sentenced to life in prison however he is eligible for parole after thirty years
Zachary Callens 2023 Information
SID Number: 50570559
TDCJ Number: 02093547
Name: CALLENS, ZACHARY ELLIOT
Maximum Sentence Date: LIFE SENTENCE
Current Facility: FERGUSON
Projected Release Date: LIFE SENTENCE
Parole Eligibility Date: 2044-08-11
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A Frisco teen was sentenced to life in prison Monday for murdering his parents two years ago.
Zachary Callens, 18, was sentenced at the Collin County Courthouse for the Aug. 11, 2014, slayings of his parents, Ryan and Maria Elena Callens.
Defense attorneys had asked jurors to give their client a lighter sentence, recommending 16 years for each slaying to match Zachary’s age at the time of the offense. But the jury took about 70 minutes to reject that plea. Zachary Callens, the youngest of five children, must serve 30 years before becoming eligible for parole.
As they did in the guilt-innocence phase of the trial, defense attorneys called no witnesses.
But all four of Callens’ siblings and three of his aunts testified for the prosecution. All said that he had no remorse over his actions, is a continuing threat to society and deserves a harsh sentence.
“It was very hard for him to hear his siblings ask for him never to be allowed on the streets again,” said defense attorney April Steele, who sat next to her client and saw his tears while his two brothers and two sisters testified against him.
All told, about a dozen family members attended the six-day trial, including several of Ryan Callens’ nine siblings. Elena Callens’ two sisters were in Spain and one, Joan Maria Escudero, testified by Skype on Monday.
“They’re terrified if he gets out,” prosecutor Danette Broome told jurors. “He holds grudges. You don’t think he’s going to hold that grudge against them?”
In pushing for a lighter sentence, Steele emphasized Callens’ age at the time of the offense and called his long curly hair and plaid shirt “schoolboy” in appearance. A picture in evidence of a lockbox with ammunition for the Martin Model 60 rifle he used to kill his parents also showed Legos and his backpack.
“Do you put a 5-year-old in timeout for an hour? No. Age-appropriate punishment,” Steele told the jury. “He’s a kid.”
Testimony during the trial showed that Zachary Callens, who was home-schooled, was angry at his parents because they had grounded him for not keeping up with his schoolwork and general disobedience.
“They had a lot of life left to live,” Broome said of the boy’s parents during his closing argument..
But a state district judge had already made that decision a year ago, ruling that Zachary Callens should be tried as an adult. The brutal shooting, the lack of empathy for his family members and his low amenability to treatment were cited as reasons for the ruling.
Ryan Callens, 48, was shot twice in the doorway to his bedroom at the Frisco home. Maria Elena Callens, 49, was shot seven times while in the bed nearby.
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An 18-year-old North Texas man must serve life in prison for the 2014 killing of his parents in what prosecutors call a dispute over unfinished schoolwork and disobedience.
Zachary Callens was sentenced Monday in McKinney.
A Collin County jury on Friday convicted Zachary Callens of murder in the deaths of his parents — Ryan and Maria Callens. The victims were shot to death in the family’s home in Frisco, about 30 miles north of Dallas.
The home-schooled son was 16 years old at the time of the August 2014 slayings, but he was tried as an adult. A judge who certified Zachary Callens as an adult cited the brutality of the crime and the teen’s lack of remorse after the deaths.
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A Collin County jury on Friday convicted 18-year-old Zachary Callens of murdering his parents in their Frisco home.
In August 2014, Ryan Callens, 48, was shot twice in the doorway to his bedroom. Maria Elena Callens, 49, was shot seven times while in the bed nearby
Their son, the youngest of five children, could be sentenced to life in prison. The punishment phase of his trial started late Friday and is to resume Monday morning.
Prosecutors said the motive for the double homicide appeared to be that Zachary, described by witnesses as a rebellious youth, was angry that his parents punished him for not doing his schoolwork.
The jury deliberated for 70 minutes before returning its verdict.
His four siblings are pressing for a long sentence.
“Nothing,” said Samantha Callens, 26, when asked about her brother’s emotional state since the murders. “Unremorseful. No guilt or sorry for how he’s affected us and our lives or even considering any of that.”
Zachary’s DNA was found on a flashlight that was duct-taped to the murder weapon, a Marlin Model 60 rifle.
His DNA was also on a roll of duct tape discovered in his room. Forensics experts said the tape on the gun came from that roll.
Zachary’s sister and a Frisco officer said he confessed outside the home right after the killings.
Zachary Callens was 16 at the time.
After 3 ½ days of prosecution testimony, Zachary’s defense lawyer, David Kleckner, called no witnesses. The defendant did not take the stand.
Kleckner tried to raise doubt about his client’s guilt by suggesting that Ryan Callens or one of Zachary’s siblings was the shooter.
The Collin County medical examiner, Dr. William Rohr, played down the notion that Callens had killed his wife, then himself.
The father’s wounds, Rohr testified, “didn’t show any characteristics of suicidal gunshot wounds.”
Scott Callens, 22, was living in the house but was not home on the night of the murders, according to testimony backed by tolltag records.
He testified, through tears, that he did not shoot his parents.
All four of Zachary’s siblings took the witness stand. They talked about their last dinner as a family, their parents’ disciplinary methods and what they knew about Zachary’s struggles at home.
“They were extremely involved in all of our lives,” Ryan Callens Jr., 25, said of his parents. “They made a visible and conscious effort to be involved in everything we did.”
Zachary Callens, home-schooled since fifth grade, had refused to do his schoolwork, his siblings said, so his parents grounded him and took away access to electronics.
He was days away from being sent to public school when the murders took place.
For three months before they were killed, the Callenses had been sending Zachary Callens to counseling. Records showed that he expressed homicidal thoughts toward his father, but counselors said they saw no need to refer him to police or for psychiatric treatment.
“This was standard counseling of a young man,” said Kleckner, the defense lawyer. He noted that the counselors never voiced concern for anyone’s safety and never noted any harsh feelings on Zachary’s part toward his mother.
Kleckner, in closing statements, tried to raise questions about the murder investigation. He called the police examination of the murder weapon sloppy. He said the police officers who responded to Sydney Callens’ 911 call took her word that her brother confessed, and immediately focused on him as the sole suspect.
“There could have been much further and deeper investigation,” Kleckner said. “This isn’t running a red light. This is double murder. You take the time to investigate every possible solid lead and clue. And that just wasn’t done in this case.
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A “sheltered” teenage boy reportedly shot and killed his parents inside their picturesque Texas home, cops said.
Ryan and Maria Callens — who strictly monitored their child’s Internet habits and refused to let him watch violent movies — were found dead by Frisco police on Monday, WFAA reports.
Responding to a call of shots fired, the cops arrived at the grisly scene at around 2 a.m. to find the teen and his older sister standing outside the home, a Collin County court officer said during a hearing on Tuesday. The suspect was kneeling on the ground with his face in his hands, while the distraught sister frantically tried to dial someone on her phone, NBC-DFW reports.
A police officer reportedly overhead a chilling conversation between the siblings.
“What do you mean you did it?” the sister asked the suspect.
“I did it,” the boy said.
“Was this your plan?” the sister replied, receiving no response from her brother.
The girl then told officers that there was a gun in the house, as the boy gestured. Officers found a rifle on the floor of the house. A flashlight had been taped to it.
Ryan Callens, 48, was found by police in the Frisco home’s hallway, while his wife Maria Elena Callens, 49, was found in her bed with multiple bullet wounds—including in the head and arms.
Cops arrested the suspect on the spot. Authorities aren’t releasing his name because of his age, Frisco police spokesperson Colby Hill told The News. The teen has been charged with two counts of murder.
“The decision to try him as an adult will be made in consultation with the Collin county DAs office,” Hill wrote in an email. “The investigation is still on-going and that decision will be made in future court proceedings.”
During his first appearance in court, the suspect shuffled in wearing an orange jail jumpsuit. Shackled at his wrists and ankles, he remained calm and appeared to show no emotion, Dallas News reports.
A district judge decided that the teen will be detained for 14 days as the cops continue the investigation, Bill Dobiyanski, the district attorney’s first assistant, confirmed to The News.
The disturbing double homicide has neighbors struggling to wrap their minds around whether the seemingly sweet teen could be responsible for such a heinous crime.
Several friends suggested that the teen, who was homeschooled, was subjected to strict rules by his parents.
He was very sheltered,” friend Jonathon Marcum, 15, told The Dallas News. “If he broke the guidelines, he got punished.”
The son was reportedly not allowed to watch R-rated movies. PG-13 movies with violent scenes were edited, while his Internet usage was strictly monitored.
“His parents were really uptight on him,” added friend William Castillo.
Other neighbors said that the teen wasn’t allowed to drink soda and was held to a strict curfew.
Natalie Benitez, who has reportedly known the teen since elementary school, said she was shocked by the allegations. She said the teen had told her he liked being homeschooled.
“He’s, like, so against school,” Benitez, 15, said. “He’s, like, ‘I would never go back.'”
The suspect is currently in custody at the Collin County Juvenile Detention Center, NBC-DFW reports.
Neighbors said the Cullens had two children in college and a daughter in high school. A fourth child has recently graduated from college.