Wash. boy, 16, pleads guilty to killing mother

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FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash. (AP) -- A 16-year-old boy has pleaded guilty to killing his mother and setting fire to their home in Washington's San Juan Islands.

The Seattle Times reports (http://bit.ly/uQdOTE ) that Taylor Hammel pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree murder/domestic violence in the April 3 death of Sharon Hammel. He also pleaded guilty to first-degree arson.

For the murder charge, the boy was sentenced to a juvenile facility until he turns 21, the maximum penalty for the juvenile conviction.

The Times says the prosecutor's office and defense lawyers asked the court to transfer the arson charge to adult court. San Juan County Prosecutor Randall Gaylord said Superior Court Judge Donald Eaton agreed, sentencing the boy to an "exceptional" sentence of 31 months in state prison, to be served after he completes the murder sentence.

An autopsy showed the 49-year-old single mother had been stabbed nine times, bludgeoned and strangled in her Friday Harbor home. The boy was 15 at the time.

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Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com