An 11-year-old student at Fort Colville Elementary School in Colville, Washington, was convicted of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder against his classmates Friday.
Stevens County Superior Court Judge Allen Nielsen said “simple anger” caused the boy to plot with a 10-year-old classmate to kill several students.
The 10-year-old stole a semi-automatic gun from his brother, and brought the gun, ammunition, and a knife to school on February 7. The 11-year-old planned to stab a female classmate with whom he was previously friends, but who he said had become “rude” and annoying. The students planned to lure the girl from the school grounds while the younger student guarded the area with his brother’s gun.
A fourth grader spotted the knife in the 10-year-old’s backpack, and staff at the school contacted authorities immediately. The boys were arrested and it was eventually revealed that they planned to kill six more classmates. In March, a judge deemed both students fit to be tried as juveniles.
Judge Nielsen called the trial “the most serious of my career” and rejected defense efforts to portray the 11-year-old as unable to separate fact from fiction. The boy is due back in court November 8 for a sentencing hearing, and a defense lawyer said an appeal is planned.
“There is no joy in a conviction,” said Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen.
The 10-year-old pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to commit murder and related charges. He was sentenced to three to five years in a juvenile detention facility, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Forensic psychologist Craig Beaver examined the 11-year-old several times following his arrest, and defense attorney Don Richter used testimony to show that the boy suffered from periods of manic behavior. Beaver said the boy’s behavior was “strongly suggestive of what we see with childhood bipolar disorder, which is relatively rare.”