STEVENS COUNTY, Wash.-- A judge sentenced a fifth grade student to a minimum of 168 weeks (3.5 years) in a juvenile detention facility for plotting an attack at Fort Colville Elementary School. The child could serve as much as 260 weeks (5.4 years). The judge said the student faces probation afterward.
The 10-year-old boy pleaded guilty one month before his sentencing on Wednesday. His charges including conspiracy to commit first degree murder, tampering with a witness, and juvenile in possession of a firearm.
The boy is one of two suspects arrested in the plot. The 10 year-old and an 11-year-old boy originally pleaded not guilty on March 29th.
Court documents said that the boys confessed to plotting to harm seven of their classmates, including one of the boy's girlfriends. Police said that the boys brought a knife, a gun, and ammunition to Fort Colville Elementary School to kill their classmates. The plan was foiled when another student saw a knife fall from one of the suspect’s backpacks while getting off the school bus. The boy told school staff who search the students’ backpacks and found the weapons.
A child psychologist testified during the sentencing. He recommended the Fort Colville Elementary student not be incarcerated, but go to a treatment facility. The psychologist told the judge that he does not believe the child was at high risk to commit other violent acts.
However, the prosecutor stated that the fifth grader was dangerous when he was arrested in February and is dangerous now. He went on to remind the judge that the child was not remorseful during previous interviews. The prosecutors said that the child had only recently started to show remorse.
The mother of Fort Colville’s suspects’ intended victim also testified on Wednesday. Tracie Case said her daughter has forgiven both of the boys.
“As far as sentencing goes, I don't know what the right thing is, and I don't think two years is long enough,” said Case.
“If you two boys had had your way she would have never grown up,” said Case. “She would have never got the chance to make any of her dreams come true.
The suspect’s father also took the stand. He apologized for his son’s actions. His son’s defense attorney later said that the boy came from a “dysfunctional family.” The defense lawyer went on to list more than one dozen reasons why his client is not at risk to reoffend.
The fifth grader also addressed the court before the sentencing. He apologized and began to cry according to witnesses.
“ I know this is a bad thing thing that I've done,” he said.
The other 5th grader accused of plotting the attack heads back to court on May 28th.