Tess Damm
Tess Damm

Tess Damm, the Lafayette teen convicted of helping kill her mother more than three years ago, will not be transferred to an adult prison, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Boulder County District Judge James Klein concluded that state officials did not sufficiently demonstrate that Damm was no longer benefiting from the programs offered at the youth corrections facility in which she is housed.

The ruling, which happened behind locked doors at a hearing that was not open to the public, was confirmed by Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett. The Camera filed an unsuccessful motion Tuesday to open the proceedings to the public.

The Colorado Attorney General's Office recently requested to transfer Damm to an adult facility in part because she allegedly hatched a plan to strangle a guard as part of an attempt to escape from the Betty Marler Youth Services Center in Denver. The Attorney General's Office represents the Colorado Department of Youth Services.

The Boulder County District Attorney's Office objected to a transfer, saying it would shorten the amount of time Damm will have to serve on her sentence. Moving Damm to an adult facility this early, the office argued, would mean she would be credited for good and earned time that she isn't credited for in the juvenile facility, where inmates serve on a day-for-day basis.

Damm was sentenced in 2008 to 23 years in prison -- with the first five to be served in a juvenile facility -- for her role in helping her boyfriend, Bryan Grove, murder her mother, Linda Damm, in her Lafayette home in February 2007. She pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case.

Damm was 15 at the time of her mother's murder.

"I'm pleased with the court's ruling," Garnett said Tuesday. "The agreement with regard to the plea disposition on this case was difficult and complex. The AG's motion was opposed not only by the DA's office but by the victim's representatives who believe that Ms. Damm should serve the full sentence when the plea disposition was entered."

Garnett declined to say anything further about Tuesday's hearing because of Klein's order to close it to the public and the media on the grounds that Damm has the right to keep discussion and testimony about her clinical and therapeutic evaluations private.

Klein, in denying the Camera's request to open the proceedings, called the hearing a "juvenile matter" that is governed by the "Children's Code" under Colorado state law.

It's not clear why the court considers Damm a juvenile when she turned 18 last summer.

Contact Camera Staff Writer John Aguilar at 303-473-1389 or aguilarj@dailycamera.com.