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Plea agreement rejected for Cortez teen accused of stabbing mother to death

Chief Judge Todd Plewe, of the 22nd Judicial District, in an archived photo. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
Shyanne Boyd pleaded guilty for the 2022 murder earlier this year

The plea agreement for Shyanne Boyd, the Cortez teen who is accused of stabbing her mother, Shaylie Lynn Boyd, to death in her sleep in 2022, was rejected Tuesday after Chief Judge Todd Plewe said it didn’t meet his satisfaction because of the “serious nature of the offense.”

The plea agreement presented to the 22nd Judicial District Court would have given Boyd five years in the Department of Corrections for the charge of aggravated robbery and seven years for the charge of second-degree murder, for a total of 12 years.

The stabbing July 29, 2022, was not Boyd’s first brush with death. In 2021, when she was 14, she and her boyfriend created a suicide pact and attempted to shoot themselves in the head along the banks of the Mancos River.

As law enforcement rushed to the teens, her boyfriend pulled the trigger, killing himself and lodging the bullet in Boyd’s head, requiring her to be flown to Denver for her injuries.

This trauma, along with the subsequent brain injury, is part of what Boyd’s defense attributes to her becoming mentally ill enough to kill her mother.

Under the rejected plea agreement, Boyd could have receive extensive rehabilitation and mental health treatment, something her lawyers and her guardian ad litem said would help her become a safe and productive member of society after she was released from prison.

If she doesn’t successfully complete the program, she will get an automatic 20 years.

Prosecutors agreed that the plea agreement was fair and could be effective in rehabilitating Boyd.

Boyd’s family, however, took turns addressing Plewe, saying that the plea agreement did not sufficiently address what Boyd had done and what she had taken away from the family.

Breana Collins, Shaylie Boyd’s sister-in-law, created an online petition in which 913 people had signed, asking for a harsher sentence.

Tammy Samora, Shaylie Boyd’s aunt, addressed Plewe first, saying that she didn’t think the plea was just in the face of the “brutal murder” committed by Boyd.

“Killing your mother is not something that you do and be OK 12 years later,” she said.

She said Boyd showed a startling lack of remorse for what she had done, and that other young people in the area, particularly Boyd’s friends who allegedly knew she was going to murder her mother, would be watching to see what happened to young people who committed this kind of violent crime.

“We have to teach our young people the value of a heartbeat,” she said. “Kids are going to know what happened here.”

She also alleged that Boyd had also talked about killing others, not just her mother.

Collins shared some of the ground rules that had been set for Shyanne before the murder, which she said were rules that had turned into grounds for murder.

The rules included things like not kissing or other types of public displays of affection around Shaylie and Shyanne’s younger brother Charlie, getting A’s and B’s in school and respecting authority.

“This is a mother who was trying to help her daughter,” Collins said, who added that a longer sentence was needed to reflect the seriousness of taking a life.

The family said the murder had caused severe stress and anxiety for all of them, and they worried about their safety and the safety of their families when Shyanne eventually goes free.

Shaylie’s brother Cole Boyd, who was still at home part of the time his parents were raising Shyanne, and he said he knows her better than almost anyone.

“I know who she really is,” he said. “She has no morals or conscience, and she stole a lifetime of memories from her 10-year-old brother.”

Shyanne’s grandfather, Steve Boyd, said that Shyanne’s little brother had just found out a few weeks ago that his sister was the one who had killed his mom.

“She has crippled our family,” Steve Boyd said.

After Boyd’s family finished addressing Plewe, Shyanne’s defense attorney argued for the plea agreement, using mental health and trauma as the basis for their argument.

“I think the victim’s family have been very, very articulate in how they voiced how this has affected them and how they feel and what they want this court to do,” the defense said.

The defense argued that Boyd was a troubled child because of the absence of her biological parents early on in life, which created a “hole in her soul about her biological parents not being there,” and the “traditional parenting” she received from her grandparents left her trauma “unaddressed and untreated.”

“Shyanne has been in a perpetual cycle of not feeling wanted or loved,” he said. “She has experienced intense shame. There’s something wrong with her, and that’s why her mother wanted her brother and not her.”

Plewe said the defense had done a good job proving Boyd had experienced extensive trauma.

She “witnessed drug abuse and certainly has witnessed a lot of violence and the suicide attempt that she was part of. It’s really unimaginable,” he said.

However, Plewe rejected the plea, saying it didn’t fit the crime committed, the “stabbing in the back of an individual while they were asleep.”

“That type of offense deserves a longer sentence than 12 years,” he said. “If we don’t punish these types of offenses very seriously, more serious than this, then that’s not justice.

A pretrial hearing is set for Oct. 11.