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When 15-year-old Evyn Scott climbed into a car the night of his death, he had no idea his soon-to-be killer was hiding in the trunk.
A district court judge on Wednesday sentenced Russell Spencer to 12 years in prison Wednesday in Scott’s 2019 beating and shooting death.
Spencer, 21, pleaded guilty in 2020 to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit kidnapping in Scott’s death.
Second Judicial District Judge Courtney Weaks said prior to sentencing she was struck by the cruelty and premeditated nature of the killing.
The evidence is unclear whether Spencer was armed with a firearm as he hid in the trunk, Weaks said.
“Regardless of whether or not Russell (Spencer) had a firearm when he was hiding in the trunk, he hid in the trunk with the intent to hurt Evyn that night,” Weaks said.
“I think it’s very clear as well that Evyn would not have gotten in the car if he knew that Russell was there,” she said.
Spencer had threatened Scott in the days prior to the killing, according to a criminal complaint.
Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies said Scott was lured into a car on March 14, 2019, and driven into the East Mountains, where he was beaten, choked and shot.
His body was found on the shoulder of N.M. 14 near Paa-Ko Golf Drive with multiple gunshots to his head. He had previously been beaten and choked.
“It sounded as though Evyn was almost deceased, before he was pulled out of the car and shot in the head,” Weaks said. “So I agree that this is about as heinous as a murder can be.”
Scott’s mother, Cassandra Scott, told the judge that she spoke with her son by phone on the night of his death and warned him not to get in the car.
“I said, ‘Where do you think you are going on a school night,'” Cassandra Scott said at Spencer’s sentencing hearing. “I was panicking.”
Cassandra Scott then told her mother to get the license plate number of the car before it drove away. Deputies later used the license number to trace ownership of the car, she said.
At his sentencing hearing, Spencer said he wants to become a better person during his time in prison.
“I understand the magnitude of what I did,” Spencer said. “Just sitting here today, I’ve been able to see some of the grief that I’ve caused.”
Spencer’s attorney, Todd Farkas, asked Weaks to consider that Spencer had experienced domestic violence as a boy that left him with psychological problems. Spencer was 17 at the time of killing.
“I am concerned that too long a sentence would impair the rehabilitation that he has begun,” Farkas said of his client.
Spencer’s brother and co-defendant, Scott Spencer, has been charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and other charges in connection with Evyn Scott’s killing. No trial date has been scheduled in that case.