SPOKANE, Wash. -- The teen accused of killing one of his classmates and injuring three others appeared in court Wednesday morning.
At Caleb Sharpe’s court appearance, a judge set a declination hearing for April 2, 2018. During that hearing both sides will argue why he should or should not be tried as an adult. It is expected to take a week.
Since the suspect is a juvenile, there has to be a declination hearing to decide if he will be charged as an adult. He will turn 16-years-old in October while in juvenile detention.
Given the complexities of Sharpe’s case, attorneys on both sides agreed they needed more time to prepare for the hearing. Normally, a declination hearing has to be held within 14 days of the charges being filed.
"I think that obviously this is a significant matter and determinations to whether he gets tried as an adult or a juvenile, is very significant. So, it's not a matter you can rush people to have a hearing in 14 days. You can't prepare and provide the evidence the court needs to have to make that very serious determination," said the suspect's attorney Bevan Maxey.
Prosecutors are also filing 51 additional charges of second degree assault against the suspect for other students put in danger the day of the shooting.
The suspected shooter's charge for Sam Strahan's death has been upgraded from first degree murder to first degree premeditated murder with aggravating circumstances. He is also charged with attempted first degree murder for the three girls injured in the shooting. Court documents said at trial, if the jury does not think he is guilty of attempted murder, there is an option to instead find him guilty of first degree assault.