Back-to-School 2020

True-crime research, novel writing research, and updates.


It’s back-to-school time across the U.S. As students return to schools, a few will be bullies resuming their pattern of perpetual torment.

BLOG POST #243: This week, I’m sharing an update to a true-crime case shared previously about a 16-year-old bullied high school student.

The news reported classmates said bullies teased the teen about his red hair and his social awkwardness. In his freshman year, a fight ended in a sexual assault.

The teenager said classmates tormented him.

  • Does that make his actions justified? No.
  • Does bullying drive kids to retaliate by killing or plotting to kill? Yes.
  • Are we as a society doing enough to stop bullying? No.

The year before he took matters into his own hands, he made a kill list. On a school field trip, staff overheard him say he could use bombs to take out students. More recently, he wrote a fiction story about retaliating against bullies.

On his last day at that school, he took a shotgun and 28 rounds of ammunition. After looking in several classrooms, he found his targets in science class. He shot one in the chest and missed the other—fragments injured a teacher. Thankfully, there were no fatalities.

According to the reported court proceedings, classmates testified to knowing of the shooter’s frustration and his plan to kill bullies. As is often the case, the classmates didn’t believe he would follow-through.

The court tried the teenage shooter as an adult. The trial ended with a hung jury. He later accepted a deal and pleaded no contest to two counts of attempted murder without premeditation.

The judge sentenced him to 27-years and 4-months in prison, with the possibility of youth parole after 15-years.

At the beginning of his sentence, the teen spent time at a prison that provided work assignments, vocational training, and educational opportunities. They have since moved him to a Supermax facility which primarily houses violent prisoners.

Worth Mentioning: The school district sued the city who failed to assign a police officer to the school that day. The victims’ families sued the school district because they failed to prevent the shooting. And the shooter’s family sued the school district because they failed to follow their bullying guidelines. A jury awarded one of the student victims over $2 million.

What are your thoughts about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about true-crime and books.

Do you know of a crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading! Be safe and stay well.


Source: Bakersfield Now, Bakersfield Californian, Courtroom View Network, 23 ABC News Bakersfield

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