Local News

Teen Gets Up to 24½ Years in Dad's Shooting Death

Posted February 1, 2008 8:22 a.m. EST
Updated February 1, 2008 6:54 p.m. EST

— A Chapel Hill teenager who admitted killing his parents after an argument over a girlfriend and grades was sentenced Friday to as many as 24½ years in prison for the death of his father.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Carl Fox on Friday sentenced Adam Sapikowski after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the April 2005 death of James Sapikowski, 52.

The sentence ranges from 19 years and nine months to 24 years and six months.

A sentencing is scheduled Feb. 8 in the death of Sapikowski's mother, Alison Powell Sapikowski, 49.

In court last week, Sapikowski pleaded guilty to felony obstruction of justice and agreed to plead guilty to two counts of second-degree murder. Fox gave the teen a suspended sentence and a $10,000 fine on the obstruction charge.

The plea was structured in multiple parts so Sapikowski would have a felony conviction on his record when being sentenced for the killings, allowing Fox to impose a stiffer prison term, authorities said.

Sapikowski has already spent nearly three years behind bars since he was arrested on first-degree murder charges in May 2005.

Investigators said his parents' bodies had been in their Chapel Hill home for weeks before police discovered them wrapped in blankets behind a barricaded door.

Both had been shot several times at close range with a .410-gauge shotgun, police said.

The teen claimed he killed his parents in self-defense. His attorneys said James Sapikowski had threatened his son with a bat and that physical and emotional abuse had provoked the shootings.

Sapikowski also told psychiatrists that he had been hearing voices since middle school and that he heard them frequently before the slayings. He also told psychiatrists that he thought often about hanging himself because his parents told him he was not working hard enough.

A hospital psychiatrist said in 2006 that the teen suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and has had flashbacks of killing his parents.

In court last week, Sapikoswki apologized for the slayings.