San Juan County Courts
Taylor Hammel, 15, remains in custody after San Juan Superior Court Judge Don Eaton determined there was probable cause to believe the juvenile committed the crimes of first-degree murder and arson. An autopsy revealed Hammel's mother, Sharon, died of multiple stab wounds and a skull fracture before their house was burned on Sunday morning.
According to court documents, when deputies arrested him at the pool room in the Friday Harbor bowling alley April 6, 2011 Hammel said, "I burned my home but I didn't kill my mom."
In interviews prior to the arrest, Hammel told detectives his mother had returned home intoxicated around 11 p.m. Saturday night. They discussed an argument they had argued earlier in the day over a school assignment he hadn't turned in. She had taken away his television privileges for a week as punishment. He told deputies he was having trouble with his grades and the two would argue about it.
He used the code word "Galapogos", to end the discussion. It was their signal, in situations when she was intoxicated, for them to stop talking and for her to go to bed. He said she went to bed.
Investigators found a large t-shirt with blood stains placed under several other items in the bathroom hamper.
According to the preliminary appearance probable cause affadavit filed in court, a note believed to be written by Hammel was found under his bed. The note expressed anger toward his mother, asked for her forgiveness and hoped that she would still love him "even in the after life". He asked his mother to say hello to his grandmother. Friends of the family say the grandmother died on the same date last year. The note was signed: "Your loving son, Taylor".
Hammel will be arraigned at 1:15 p.m. Thursday, April 14, 2011 in San Juan County Superior Court.
San Juan County Prosecutor Randy Gaylord said his office is considering if it would be appropriate to charge Hammel as an adult. The decision will be made after charges are filed. Juveniles have to enter the system through the Juvenile Court. After charges are filed, they can be transferred to adult court.