In a fifth-graders murder trial, two fifth-graders have pleaded not guilty, according to a March 30 KGW report. The two boys from Fort Colville Elementary School will have to stand trial for plotting to hurt their classmates.
The boys, ages 10 and 11, pleaded not guilty to the charges. They are charged with conspiracy to commit first degree murder, tampering with a witness, and being in possession of a firearm as juveniles. These are not small charges, and it is strange that a 10 and 11-year-old are facing these serious charges.
In the State of Washington, children ages eight to 12 do not have the capacity to commit crimes. However, in the face of overwhelming evidence, they can still face charges and go to trial. In this case, the judge felt the fifth-graders met seven factors to be charged and tried for a crime.
Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen said,
“There are very few prosecutions of a crime of this magnitude with boys of this age.”
The two boys actually plotted to kill seven of their classmates, including one of their girlfriends, at Fort Colville Elementary School, and they brought a gun and a knife to school along with ammunition. Another classmate saw the knife and alerted teachers at the school.
The boys both confessed to the crimes, and said that they knew they were wrong. They did not appear to express much remorse about their plan according to witnesses in the case.
This fifth-graders murder trial is incredibly unusual. It is also so sad that children so young would be so filled with hate to try to plot to kill their classmates like this. If they are convicted, they could be sentenced to between 103 and 127 weeks unless the judge orders a longer sentence.