10/24/2014

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Man who killed mom, dad and brother could get new sentence

Man who killed mom, dad and brother could get new sentence

MONTESANO, Wash -- Relatives of a murdered family came to court Monday to urge the judge to keep the killer locked up for life. That killer is the family's own son, Brian Bassett, who was just 16-years old when he killed his parents and brother.

Bassett, now 35, walked into Grays Harbor Superior Court Monday, passing within feet of his own family members, who are still devastated by the horrific crime.

"It's a terrible feeling because he doesn't look that different and it just all comes back. So it's not a good feeling," said family member Sandra Vanover.

In August of 1995, Bassett snuck into his family's McCleary home and shot to death his mother, Wendy, and father, Mike. He then took his 5-year-old brother Austin and drowned him in the bathtub. Then he and his accomplice, 18-year-old CK McDonald, took cash and belongings and headed to California. They were caught in Oregon.

McDonald got 65 years in prison. Bassett got life without the possibility of parole.

Bassett is back in the same courtroom with the possibility of having his sentence reduced. That's due to a recent supreme court ruling that says automatic life without parole sentences are cruel and unusual punishment for murderers under 18. But instead of re-sentencing Bassett to perhaps a lower time in prison, Judge Gordon Godfrey ruled that he wanted to wait until the Supreme Court clarifies its decision later this year.

"I would prefer that he never be on the street again. I think he's dangerous," said family member Sherry Garris.

Even though Bassett killed his parents and brother, his sister Stephanie wasn't home at the time. Family members fear for her and his two step sisters. 

"I think he's a danger to his sisters, and they would have to take some precautions to protect themselves from him and that concerns me," Garris said.

Even if Bassett's sentence was reduced to 25 years, the prosecutor believes he'll have to serve 25 years for each murder, for a total of 75, which effectively is still a life sentence.

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