Judge to read letters before Barbeau, Paape sentencing

SHEBOYGAN (WITI) -- Antonio Barbeau and Nathan Paape will soon learn their punishment in the murder of 78-year-old Barbara Olson last year. Letters submitted to a Sheboygan County judge from Olson's son and daughter could influence the judge's sentencing decision.

While Barbeau and Paape wait in juvenile prison to hear their punishment, which is expected to be handed down in August, a judge is set to read letters from the defendant's family and victim's family.

"The judge reads them all. It doesn't matter how many there are -- he or she will read them all. We don't know exactly how much effect these types of letters will have on them," Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe DeCecco said.

Letters written by Olson's son and daughter show the two are not on the same page as far as what they'd like to see handed down as a sentence in this case.

Steve Olson requested both teens be tried as adults, and sentenced to life in prison -- while his sister Judy Offutt's message is one of lenience, asking that both teens be sent to hospitals and receive medical treatment and rehabilitation.

"I think the focus here will be the seriousness of the crime. This is a first degree intentional homicide -- by law they must go to prison for at least 20 years," DeCecco said.

DeCecco says while the judge will consider all letters, sentencing always comes down to severity of the crime, character of the defendants and protection from the public.

"I suspect whatever they get they're going to be treated pretty much equally," DeCecco said.

The teens were convicted of attacking Olson in her Sheboygan Falls home with a hammer and hatchet -- the weapons used before the teens stole Olson's jewelry, money and car.

Barbeau reached a plea deal in the case, and a jury found Paape guilty. Because of their young age, they are eligible for early release.

"At some point, they have to be eligible for parole. What date the judge sets, how many years is up to the judge," DeCecco said.