Teens could be tried as adults in homeless deaths

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Albuquerque homeless killing
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Teens could be tried as adults in homeless deaths
Bedding, clothing and broken glass litter a homeless encampment in Albuquerque, Monday, July 21, 2014, where three teenagers are accused of fatally beating two homeless men. The teens, aged 15, 16 and 18, have been charged with open counts of murder in the Friday night killings. (AP Photo/Jeri Clausing)
An undated photo provided by the Metropolitan Detention Center shows 18-year-old Alex Rios. Rios, 18, and two boys, ages 16 and 15, were arrested in connection with the murder of two homeless men over the weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The three are scheduled for arraignment Monday, July 21, 2014 on murder charges in the slayings.(AP Photo/Metropolitan Detention Center via Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A prosecutor says she expects three teens accused in the brutal slayings of two homeless men in New Mexico to be tried together as adults.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said Tuesday the 15- and 16-year-old suspects have been charged as serious youthful offenders.

She says that means if they are later indicted on first-degree murder charges, she anticipates they will be tried alongside the 18-year-old suspect in adult court.

However, because the two are minors, a judge will have more leeway in sentencing if they are convicted.

First-degree murder convictions carry a mandatory life sentence for adults.

Eighteen-year-old Alex Rios and the two younger suspects are accused of attacking three homeless men as they slept. A lawyer for Rios has declined comment.

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