Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on January 17, 1998 · Page 24
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 24

Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Saturday, January 17, 1998
Page 24
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A24 The Arizona Republic Saturday, January 17, 1998 Kep, Mom The 12th picture frame lined up by ' Rhonda Michie symbolizes the ' "emptiness that will never be filled." Photos by Todd Ullartf Teen killer given max as ; mom holds silence TEEN, from Page Al ond-degree murder. Bach had shot his schoolmate Brad, "13, two years ago, then watched him die and discarded the body in a trash bin. The body was never found. Bach stood in the center of the courtroom and showed no emotion as the judge pronounced his decision. At 6 feet tall and more than 200 pounds, Bach's stature belied his youth, a fact that was not lost on Nastro. "I can assure you that this is the most difficult .case I have had in sentencing," the judge told Bach. Bach was the youngest murder defendant to be tried as an adult in Maricopa County. Now; he will be the youngest of the nearly 24,000 inmates in state prisons. Bach will be assigned to a Tucson prison, inside a special unit that now holds 86 other minors. When he turns 18, he will be mixed with the general population. The harsh sentence was the only fitting punishment in the eyes of Hansen's mother, Rhonda Michie. The frames she placed on the jury box held photos ranging from an infant in blue overalls to a smiling boy in a red baseball cap. Of the lone, empty frame, Michie said, "I just wanted to represent all of the pictures that we won't have of our son. "There's an emptiness that will never be filled." Bach has maintained that the Nov. 10, 1995, shooting was accidental. The boys were inside his Ah-watukee home, he said, playing cops and robbers with guns that belonged V Jeremy Bach (in stripes) shows no emotion as the judge pronounces the maximum sentence of 22 years. to Bach's stepfather, Dan, when one discharged. A bullet struck Hansen in the chest. In court records, police and prosecutors said Bach watched for 90 minutes as his friend gurgled and bled to death. He decided against calling 911 for help, and instead discarded Hansen's body in a trash bin. He spent hours cleaning up the blood. When confronted about the missing boy by both Michie and police, Bach gave varying stories. He was arrested in February in Las Vegas, where he had moved with his mother. Police then searched a landfill for Hansen's body, but found nothing in a two-month search. The only two people to speak on the boy's behalf were his attorney and a psychologist paid to examine him. '. They alternately painted a picture of a boy with low academic achieve-. ment, low self-esteem and no sense of belonging, who suffered from what doctors described as moderate depression and other disorders. His stepfather was described as abusive and controlling, and attorney Roland Steinle repeated the defense contention that Dan Bach helped cover up the crime. He pointedly asked Dr. Susan Parrish, "Could Jeremy be subjected to manipulation by someone like Dan Bach?" Bach's mother was called ineffective. Steinle reminded Nastro that she allowed her son to go alone with police for questioning about Hansen's disappearance. Nastro indicated Friday that letters were sent to the judge regarding Bach's sentencing, but it was unclear whether any were written by the defendant's mother. Dan Bach was not in the courtroom, nor was he when his stepson was found guilty of the crime. After the sentencing, Michie acknowledged that her family has compassion for Jeremy Bach. "However, I don't think his life justifies his actions toward my son," she said. Michie also pointed to the agony she suffered at Bach's hands in the months after her son disappeared. "And for three months," she said. "Every time I heard a creak in my house, I thought he was returning." Susie Steckner can be reached at 444-2413 or at via e-mail. 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