Boy sentenced to 3 years for Ft. Colville murder plot

Author: Rob Kauder, Internet Content Manager, robk@kxly.com
Published On: May 15 2013 02:55:06 PM PDT   Updated On: May 15 2013 06:41:17 PM PDT
Two Colville 5th graders face murder conspiracy charges
COLVILLE, Wash. -

Saying there were aggravating factors proven against a 10-year-old boy who plotted to attack a classmate at Fort Colville Elementary School, Judge Allen Nielson sentenced the boy to 3-5 years in custody Wednesday in Colville.

"I know this is a bad thing I've done," the boy said before breaking down and crying during the hearing.

The boy could be placed on parole after serving three years of his sentence. After sentencing, the boy's attorney indicated they plan to appeal.

During the hearing, Dr. Kevin Hyde addressed the sentencing hearing by phone, saying that he had met the boy for three sessions and felt he was not a high risk for further violent acts.

Hyde reviewed the prosecutors' sentencing recommendation for the boy and felt it was inappropriate.

"I think it would be wrong to incarcerate this child until the age of 16. We don't need to ruin this child's life," Hyde said.

The mother of the girl who would have been the target of the boys' attack said her daughter forgives the boys, however, she feels that while she doesn't know how long the boy should be sentenced for, two years is too little time.

"We make choices and there are consequences … [I] don't think two years is long enough," she said.

Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen, when asking for an exception sentence that would put the boy behind bars until he was at least 16, said the boy "was dangerous on Feb. 7 and he's dangerous today" when asking the court for an exceptional sentence.

"He doesn't think in terms of how his actions affect other people. There's something missing in him," Rasmussen said, adding that the boy's thinking was "like a video game. There's someone in your way, you kill them."

 "[The] state does not feel [the boy] is a monster, but what he tried to do is monstrous," he added.

While prosecutors were asking for the boy to be incarcerated, the boy's attorney reinforced Hyde's comments, saying the boys' actions were more a cry for help than a realistic plan to harm their classmate and that he needed treatment and not a severe sentence, as the prosecutors had requested.

The boy pleaded guilty to his role in the plot before the start of his trial earlier this spring. He actually made the surprise decision to change his plea to guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, juvenile in possession of a firearm and witness tampering charges just before a scheduled pretrial hearing in early April.

In changing his plea, the boy told Nielson that, "I think it's best for my future. I know what I did was wrong."

The second defendant in the case, an 11-year-old boy, remains in custody in juvenile detention at Martin Hall.

The two boys were taken into custody after a third classmate noticed them playing with a knife in a backpack while getting off the school bus. Colville police later interviewed the boys, and they confessed they had been planning on attacking the classmate that same day.

"Both explained to me that they had been planning this event about two weeks before that date, and on the date, we made contact with them and interviewed these students. It was going to happen that day," Colville police Officer Scott Arms said.

The boys were expelled from school and taken into custody.