Marilee Gardner sentenced in Ogden juvenile court for attempted murder

Wednesday , October 25, 2017 - 12:12 PM6 comments

JACOB SCHOLL, Standard-Examiner Staff

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misspelled the name of Maddison Haan. The Standard-Examiner regrets the error.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to show additional information regarding Marilee Gardner’s next court appearance.

OGDEN — Marilee Gardner, the Layton 17-year-old who was originally charged with two counts of murder as an adult in 2016, has agreed to a plea deal in juvenile court. 

Gardner appeared with her lawyer, Tara Isaacson, in 2nd District Juvenile Court in front of Presiding Judge Sherene Dillon Wednesday morning to enter her plea.

Gardner pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder, a first-degree felony. Gardner will be in the care of a juvenile facility until she turns 21. 

Part of her plea deal stipulates she will plead guilty to another attempted murder charge — also a first-degree felony — as an adult in 2nd District Court. That means after her 21st birthday and release from juvenile detention, Gardner will be sent to prison, according to Isaacson.

The prison time for the attempted murder charge ranges from three years to life in prison.

Weber County Attorney Chris Allred told the Standard-Examiner in August the deal ensures that Gardner will spend time in prison as an adult following her time served in the juvenile system.

Gardner admitted stealing her family’s SUV, leading police on a high-speed chase and ultimately crashing the car into a Hyundai Accent at a speed of nearly 100 mph. The crash killed both passengers of the Hyundai, Maddison Haan, 20, and Tyler Christianson, 19.

Court documents show Gardner was apparently on her way to meet a friend. Both planned to take drugs and crash the vehicle in an attempt to die by suicide. 

Gardner gave a brief statement, taking a long pause to keep from crying before speaking.

“I know it doesn’t change anything, but I am truly sorry,” Gardner said.

Friends and family of Haan and Christianson gave heartfelt — and, at times, bitter — statements on the losses they have experienced and their condemnation of Gardner’s actions. 

Family members addressed Gardner face-to-face. From those who read statements, some described Gardner as a murderer and a terrorist, while others explained the type of personal loss they experienced after the deaths of Haan and Christianson. 

Jocelyn Castillo, Haan’s mother, listed off a number of family and personal events that her daughter has missed since her death. Castillo described how Haan missed birthdays, holidays and even her first day of attending classes at Weber State University.

Gardner’s charge of attempted murder was filed Wednesday afternoon in 2nd District Court following her morning hearing. Her initial appearance is set for Nov. 15 in Ogden.

Gardner is expected to enter a guilty plea to the attempted murder charge at the hearing.

Contact reporter Jacob Scholl at jscholl@standard.net or follow him on Twitter @Jacob_Scholl.

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