But Arapahoe County DA Chambers is not so reticent. "I have had some questions about that case based on just a cursory review when the attorney who tried the case left the office, and some time ago asked our attorneys to take a good long look at the facts, resolution and fairness of the whole situation," she noted in an e-mail to Westword. In a follow-up e-mail, she added, "I am concerned about the case on a couple of levels and want to make sure we have all the information we can get to review it thoroughly."

In March, an Arapahoe County judge scheduled Alan Sudduth's new trial for July 19. But because the DA's office is now fighting Levi's ruling in the Court of Appeals, and the losing party will no doubt take the matter to the Supreme Court, Sudduth's trial could be postponed for several years — if it happens at all.

Sudduth tries to remain optimistic. Last year, after his little brother got out of prison for a probation violation, he quoted from the book The 33 Strategies of War in a letter to him: "You are judged in this world by how well you bring things to an end.... It is not a question of simply winning the war, but the way you win it, the way your victory sets you up for the next round."

To win this war, Sudduth knows that he'll finally have to do the thing he's been fighting against: admit to what happened the night Myers was killed.

"Pointing your finger at somebody else's actions is forbidden," he says, fidgeting in his seat in the visiting room. "I'll probably insult my own mother before I would tell on somebody. This is how I was raised. I'll probably die like this."

It doesn't matter that Reed has already confessed to the crime. Or that Michael Asberry was shot to death in Aurora in 2008 — which Sudduth compares to "your favorite TV show going off the air and not coming back on, like Superman dying."

None of that makes a difference. Sudduth still doesn't want to tell. Maybe he just doesn't want to do it while in prison, where snitching is more taboo than anywhere. Or maybe, as Ruttenberg suggests, his motive goes deeper. "I almost think he's afraid to lose the last shred of who he is," she says.

Or maybe it's that Sudduth believes that somehow his silence saved his life. He has no illusions about how he would have turned out if he hadn't been locked away when he was sixteen. "With the direction I was going and the way I looked up to Michael and my older brother," he admits, "I probably would have been dead or really earned a life sentence."

Still, when he returns to court in the coming months or years, he knows he'll have to break his rule if he wants to cross from this world inside to the world out there. It's like the five phrases he has tattooed across his chest. First there's "My death," representing the day he was charged with murder. Then there's "My viewing," signifying his plea bargain. "My burial" refers to his prison sentence, while "My resurrection" represents the day he won a new trial.

And then the last step, the one he's still waiting for: "My ascension."

To learn about Colorado's direct-file system for juvenile offenders and how it may have jeopardized Alan Sudduth's case, go to the Latest Word blog atwestword.com. Contact the author at joel.warner@westword.com.

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