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Tue, Sept. 17

Convicted murderer could get death penalty

The convicted killer of an elderly Kingman couple could be sentenced to death next month.

Mohave County Superior Court Judge Robert Moon set Feb.

20 as the date he may sentence convicted murderer Richard James Finch, 27, of Lake Havasu City.

On that date, Moon will hear oral arguments from Deputy County Attorney Matt Smith and Finch's attorney's Lee Novak and Rick Williams on the fate of Finch's punishment.

Moon could pass sentence then or at a later date.

During Tuesday's pre-sentencing hearing, Finch's mother Rose Morris took the stand telling the court of Finch's troubled childhood and teen years in Washington.

She testified how as a single mom working mostly nights, she was not around when he was a teenager.

Wiping away tears, Morris told of Finch's abusive stepfather, his natural father's absence until his teen years and her son's early involvement in alcohol and drugs.

Two of Finch's uncles, who lived nearby and who manufactured and sold methamphetamine to biker gangs, involved Finch in drugs by his early teens, she said.

"He always hung out with the wrong people," Morris told those in the courtroom, including the victims' family.

"He was always a follower."

But in the afternoon portion of the hearing, two of the grandsons and the daughter of victims Lillian and Joseph Boucher also made tearful statements asking Moon to sentence Finch to death.

"In today's society no one wants to take responsibility for what they do," said Russ Brown, one of the Boucher's grandsons.

"The decision was made long before he (Finch) entered the house.

The cop-out crap on blaming it on the upbringing is wrong.

You should take responsibility for what you do.

Everyone else does."

Russ Brown tearfully told Moon that his own young son, whose birthday is on the same day as the Bouchers' murder, will never know his great-grandparents.

The statement of another grandson, Dean Brown, was more tinged with anger.

"He had a choice over and over not to do this crime," Brown said.

"He had a choice not to go, period.

They (Finch and co-defendant Charles Ellison) had a choice, my grandparents did not.

I'm tired of hearing that it's his family's upbringing.

If he (Finch) gets life, he will still have birthdays and Christmas'.

My grandparents won't.

I'm relying on the court to do justice."

The Boucher's daughter, Vivian Brown, who passed out photos of her parents to Moon, also asked for justice.

"I waited all this time to talk to you," she said to Moon.

"This is who they are.

I didn't want them to be faceless."

In September, a jury found Finch guilty of first-degree murder and first-degree burglary for his part in the deaths of the Bouchers in their Kingman home Feb.

24, 1999.

Finch's accomplice, Ellison, 34, from Lake Havasu City, is also charged with first-degree murder and first-degree burglary.

His murder trial date has not been set.

During Finch's trial, his defense attorney's attempted to claim that it was Ellison who masterminded the burglary and directed Finch at gunpoint to kill Mrs.

Boucher.

Finch and Ellison reportedly met in a bar in Lake Havasu City on Feb.

24 last year.

Ellison allegedly asked Finch to back him up for an out-of-town job.

Finch agreed and accompanied him to Kingman where they stopped at another bar, then went to a Kingman neighborhood, court reports said.

They allegedly entered Boucher's home, tied up the couple, and stole some jewelry, a gun and some cash before allegedly suffocating the couple to death, records said.

Sheriff's deputies discovered the Bouchers' bodies two days later after the couple's daughter called her parents' home and got no response, records said.

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