SPOKANE, Wash. — A hearing to decide whether the Freeman High School shooting suspect will be tried as an adult will continue Wednesday. The hearing first started on Monday morning.
The accused shooter was 15 years old at the time of the shooting. Caleb Sharpe, 17, is accused of opening fire in the high school’s hallway in 2017, killing one student, Sam Strahan, and injuring three others.
Throughout the hearing, the judge will have to consider a list of factors before making his decision.
The criteria the judge has to consider in the declination hearing is called the Kent Factors.
The prosecutor outlined them in their opening arguments Tuesday and explained how they will address each one.
There are eight Kent Factors the judge will consider. The first factor is the seriousness of the alleged crime and if protection of the community requires declination. The prosecutor plans to argue the factor with witness testimony from Freeman School District staff members. The judge will also consider the manner in which the crime was committed.
"You'll hear from Joe Bowen, who's the janitor at the high school. He was present when this happened. Initially, he'll tell you, he thought it was firecrackers,” said prosecutor Kelly Fitzgerald. "One of the concerns always with juveniles is that they act impulsively. This was not impulsive. This was planned, executed and left behind damage that is long lasting."
The third factor will look at whether the alleged offense was against people or property. In this case, the accused shooter shot and killed one student and injured three more.
"He was clear who his victims would be. They would not be narrowed done to specific individuals. But instead his goal was to do the greatest amount of harm to the greatest amount of people," said Kelly.
The second part of the criteria focuses on the suspect.
The prosecutor said the factor of co-adult suspects does not apply to this case, but they will discuss the accused shooter's sophistication and maturity, criminal history, and the prospect of rehabilitation and protection of the public.
"He simply cannot be separated from his crimes. And attempts to minimize and lighten the weight of what he did would be to not properly apply the Kent Factors," Kelly said.
The defense plans to argue the public no longer needs protection from the accused shooter and that the juvenile system is best suited to help him with his medical needs.