Two fifth-graders accused of conspiring to commit murder will stand trial, according to a court ruling in Washington state. Despite their young age, a judge deemed both defendants fit to be tried as juveniles during a mental capacity hearing on Friday.
Prosecutors allege that the boys, ages 10 and 11, constructed a plan to viciously rape and murder a female classmate. The plot also allegedly included the intent to injure or take the lives of several other students at Fort Colville Elementary School, where the boys attend fifth-grade.
As previously reported in The Inquisitr, the fifth-graders’ horrific murder plot was uncovered before they could follow through with their violent plan.
On the morning of February 7, the boys reportedly concealed several weapons in a backpack before boarding a school bus bound for Fort Colville Elementary.
A fellow student caught sight of one of the weapons and alerted school personnel.
School officials confiscated a knife, a semi-automatic handgun, and a full ammunition clip from the fifth-graders. Once questioned, the boys allegedly admitted their plan to cause grievous harm.
In court documents, one of the accused boys reportedly claimed he wanted his female classmate to die because “she’s rude and always made fun of me and my friends.” Both children were subsequently arrested.
According to prosecutor Tim Rasmussen, the fifth-graders detailed their murder plot in a shocking handwritten note that included seven planned steps to carry out the killing — including one boy’s intent to rape and stab the female victim.
Offering the note as evidence in Friday’s hearing, Rasmussen reportedly indicated that the fifth-grader viewed rape not as a sexual act — but a display of strength and power.
During arraignment, the 11-year-old boy pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and tampering with a witness. The 10-year-old also pleaded not guilty to charges of juvenile firearm possession, witness tampering, and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
Fifth-graders taking part in a murder trial is a rare occurrence. Children under the age of 12 are usually considered mentally unable to form the intention behind a preconceived crime, according to Washington state law. Even the juvenile court system is mainly used for suspects at least twelve years of age and older.
However, after their mental capacity review, a judge declared both boys competent to face the charges brought against them. The fifth-graders’ murder trial is expected to begin in late April.
Meanwhile, the children will remain in custody, each with a bond of $100,000. Mental health experts from both sides of the case have reportedly determined that the boys present a danger to the community.
Do you think the fifth-graders are old enough to stand trial for the crimes they allegedly intended to commit?
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