February 15, 2003
Ephrata, Washington
Craig Sorger (13) is beaten and stabbed to death by his friends

Sorger was mildly autistic but, despite troubles with learning, was social and made friends easily. Two such friends were Drake Savoie and Jake Lee Eakin, both of whom were 12 at the time of Sorger’s murder.

On February 15, Savoie and Eakin asked Sorger’s mother if he could play with them. She agreed, but became worried when Sorger (who was afraid of the dark) did not return by nightfall. Her worries intensified when she learned Savoie and Eakin had returned hours earlier.

After a search, Sorger’s partially-clothed body was found in a park. His head had a severe injury and a branch was near his body. It was also noted he had been stabbed in the neck, head, and torso. Savoie and Eakin were questioned, and the boys claimed all 3 had been climbing trees when Sorger fell, striking his head on a branch which killed him. Their story was easily disproven by the stab wounds and evidence of repeated blows to Sorger’s head; he had been struck by a blunt object 16 times to his head and neck and stabbed 42 times.

Although both Eakin and Savoie initially proclaimed their innocence, Eakin later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder by complicity, stating Savoie alone had killed Sorger. He testified Savoie convinced Sorger to kneel on the ground to “see if it was wet,” then dropped a rock the “size of a basketball” on Sorger. Eakin claims he tried to stop Savoie but was pushed away. He also testified that he hit Sorger in the legs and torso after Sorger had stopped moving.

Eakin was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Savoie was originally found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to the maximum sentence of 26 years. In 2011, Savoie’s conviction was overturned during appeals and, after prosecutors stated their intention to retry him, Savoie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and sentenced to a slightly reduced sentence of 20 years.

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