Prosecutor outs effort to seal juvenile murder conviction

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — The mother of a man who was 13 years old when he killed his sister says a Washington state prosecutor acted inappropriately by publicizing his effort to seal records about his juvenile conviction.

Steven Rickards stabbed his 8-year-old sister to death in Mount Vernon in 2001. He remained in custody until he was 21, and since then has committed no crimes. He’s built a steady life that includes a job, a house and a family of his own.

But when he asked the court to seal and vacate records of his conviction — as state law allows — Skagit County Prosecutor Richard Weyrich alerted news organizations, saying certain crimes shouldn’t be sealed.

On Thursday, a judge sealed the records. Rickards’ mother says the prosecutor was grandstanding in drawing the news media’s attention to the case, and his lawyer says Weyrich may have violated state law in disseminating information about the case to reporters.