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Teenager Given Life Terms For Killing Family

Tue., April 2, 1996

A teenager was sentenced Monday to three life prison terms without parole for the killings of his parents and 5-year-old brother.

Brian Bassett, 16, knew he and Nicholaus McDonald, 18, were going to “execute” Michael and Wendy Bassett when they went to the family home in McCleary on Aug. 10, Grays Harbor County Superior Court Judge Gordon Godfrey said.

Bassett responded only “no, sir,” when asked if he had anything to say in the nearly full courtroom.

Bassett was convicted March 22 of three counts of aggravated first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of his parents and the drowning of his 5-year-old brother, Austin Bassett, in a bathtub. As a juvenile, he could not be executed for the crimes.

Imposing the only sentence allowed under state law, Godfrey told Bassett he was “a cold kid.”

“You knew what you were doing,” the judge said.

Testimony showed Bassett and McDonald also took valuables from the home and headed for California in the parents’ car. McDonald was convicted and sentenced earlier to 65 years in prison.

Defense lawyer John Farra had argued that Bassett became panicked and confused when he shot his parents, who had kicked him out of the house a week earlier, and that he was not involved when McDonald drowned his little brother.

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