MURRIETA (CBSLA.com) — A Riverside County teenager admitted in court Friday that he murdered his 11-year-old half-brother and buried the boy near the family’s Menifee home.
CBS2’s Tom Wait was in the courtroom during the emotional testimony.
After Skylor Atilano admitted in court to the murder of Terry Dewayne Smith, Wait spoke to Shawna Smith, mother to both boys.
“It’s an end but a new beginning,” Smith said.
Smith repeatedly told reporters that she was standing by Atilano. “I love him and I’m going to stand by him no matter what,” she said.
Friday she told Wait that she knew he was responsible for the murder.
“I already knew. I already knew, but I was told to keep quiet, so I did,” she said.
Smith says she does not know what happened back on July 6th of last summer — the night Smith went missing.
“I don’t think I’ll ever know,” she told reporters.
Shawna’s partner Denise Bugna remains defiant.
“The body wasn’t there for three days, bottom line. I know my property. I know my dogs. There’s no way two cadaver dogs could miss that,” Bugna said.
In court, an emotionless Atilano only answered yes or no to the judge’s questions.
As part of a plea deal, Atilano will not be tried as an adult and could be out of lock-up in four years. The 17-year-old must be set free by the time he’s 23.
Wait asked Smith if today’s plea deal gives her any closure.
She got emotional and walked away.
Because this case is still a juvenile case, the prosecutor’s office says none of the details of the crime will be released.