Created: 04/01/2014 11:17 PM
By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4
The family of Tony Day, the boy accused of killing his adoptive mother and adult sister, doesn’t understand why he’s allowed to take “field trips” while in custody.
“There’s no sense in it. I mean—absolutely none,” Mike Day, the boy’s adoptive father said.
In November 2012, police said Tony, then 14-years-old, shot Sue Day and stabbed Sherry Folts in the family’s Tucumcari-area home. The case has not yet gone to trial.
“If the gun hadn't jammed, he'd have killed me and the little girl we were taking care of,” Mike Day said.
Mike and his wife Sue were foster parents for more than 100 children over nearly 10 years. He said Tony was one of them until the couple decided to adopt him.
“I took him camping, took him hunting, took him fishing. I taught him to shoot, taught him to fish,” Mike said.
Tony is now in the care of the Sequoyah Adolescent Treatment Center, a facility run by the Department of Health, in Albuquerque. Roughly two weeks ago, Mike said he learned of Tony’s “field trips” from a headline in the Quay County Sun newspaper.
“It made me mad,” he said.
Mike believes Tony is dangerous and a flight risk.
“Why take that chance? Why risk that?” Mike said.
He also learned that Tim Rose, the district attorney in Tucumcari who’s prosecuting the case, was unaware of the field trips at first as well. Rose has been fighting a judge’s ruling ever since March 10 – a month and a half after the judge allowed the field trips.
“We're at the mercy of the courts,” Rose said. “So we brought it to the attention of the court, how insane we thought it was for that to happen. The courts read our briefs. We had a hearing on it. We made those arguments to the court and the court denied it.”
According to the Quay County Sun, which covered the hearing, the judge didn’t want to “micromanage” the doctors at Sequoyah.
“I can't dream of a situation to where I would think that, in the past, this has happened before,” Rose said.
According to Rose’s legal filings, Tony Day has the ability “to attend recreational field trips up to four times per month while in treatment at Sequoya [sic].” The filings indicate that Day can go “snowshoeing, rock climbing, igloo building, etc.”
A Department of Health spokesperson could not confirm or deny that Tony Day is in the state’s custody due to patient privacy rights and since he’s a juvenile. So, it’s unclear how Sequoyah staff cares for him while on various field trips.
Rose said the judge placed the original ruling under seal. He also said Day’s attorney first requested the judge to grant the field trips in writing.
The Day family no longer wants anything to do with Tony, but would like to know how and where he’s in custody.
“Any decision they make to move him from incarceration to a playground, we should have had something to say about that,” Mike said.
Mike also said he and his family now have to relive the killings all over again.
“You work through it, but you never get over it. And anything can bring it back up, especially something like this,” he said. “It’s hard to keep going every day.”
Tony Day’s public defender did not immediately return a call from KOB Eyewitness News 4 on Tuesday.