Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

BLOG POST #65: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving a 17-year-old boy.

He attended the local high school during the first half of ninth grade. Then he was transferred to a nearby alternative school for “at risk” students. He’d lived with his grandparents since he was a child; his parents were in and out of trouble.

The boy’s typical morning started with a bus ride to the local high school where he waited for thirty minutes in the cafeteria for the bus that would take him to a career center where he waited for another bus to take him to the alternative school. Not an ideal situation.

On this particular day, the boy had a premeditated plan to kill, in fact the shirt he’d chosen to wear to school had the word “KILLER” written on the front of it.

Tucked in his book bag was his uncle’s loaded .22-caliber semiautomatic handgun that he’d stolen along with two fully loaded magazines, extra ammo, and a knife just in case he needed a weapon while he reloaded the gun.

He went into the local high school cafeteria to wait for his transfer bus and sat alone at a table for less than ten minutes watching a group of eight to nine students talking at another table.

He pulled the gun from his bag and began shooting the students at the other table, aiming for their heads. Three students were killed, one student was paralyzed, and two students were injured.

The killer ran from the school and into the woods, he made his way to a road where he was found sitting on the roadside. When the officer stopped, the teenager confessed to his crimes. He was arrested and tested to see if he was competent to stand trial. He offered no motive other than he wanted to kill people.

The school did have security cameras installed and the execution in the cafeteria was recorded.

Found to be competent to stand trial, he accepted a plea agreement and pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of attempted murder, and one count of felonious assault.

On the day he was sentenced he wore a dress shirt to court, which he removed when the court proceedings began. His white undershirt had the word “KILLER” scrawled on it—if that wasn’t despicable enough, he also flipped-off the judge during the sentencing.

The judge sentenced him to three life sentences for the murders plus 37 years for his other crimes.

“Frankly, I wasn’t prepared for this,” the prosecutor said after his vulgar gesture. “This is confirming what we have known all along, that this was a cold, calculated, premeditated killing.”

After the victim’s families gave their statements, the killer gave a statement to the courtroom audience, but more specifically to the families. He said, “This hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory. F— all of you.” As you can imagine, this shocked everyone especially the families of the slain children. How can someone be that cruel?

Worth mentioning: Eighteen months after he was sentenced, the killer and two other criminals from the correctional facility that housed mostly minimum and medium security criminals escaped. The killer was found the next day and transferred to the state’s only Super Max Correctional Institute that mainly houses maximum security and administrative maximum security inmates.

Since the killer had not completed high school at the time of his incarceration he was mandated to attend school in prison, a Title One Class. He was not happy about attending school and had several Conduct Reports made for continuing to refuse to do the school work. He’s had other Conduct Reports made for other internal infractions, one for being under the influence of a prescribed narcotic that he was not prescribed and marijuana.

What are your thoughts about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

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

Thanks for reading!


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