Freeman school shooter pleads guilty to murder, attempted murder

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Freeman High School shooter has pleaded guilty to murder, attempted murder and other assault charges.

Caleb Sharpe opened fire at the rural high school in 2017, killing one student and injuring three others. He admitted to the shooting during interviews shortly after it happened, but entered his plea on Thursday.

He was set to go to trial this month.

Sharpe’s case has been drawn out for several years for a variety of reasons. It took two years for lawyers to prepare for his declination hearing, which is when a judge ruled he would be tried as an adult.

Shortly after that, his attorney Bevan Maxey left the case as Sharpe’s family could not afford his fees.

His trial was pushed back even further as public defenders took his case and needed time to prepare.

This fall, a judge denied Sharpe’s motion to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

According to court records, Sharpe will be sentenced on January 18. He could face life in prison, though the Washington Supreme Court has previously shut down life without parole sentences with juvenile offenders. The defense is asking for a 20-year sentence because Sharpe was a juvenile at the time of the shooting.

Freeman School District Superintendent Randy Russell shared the following statement regarding Thursday’s plea agreement:

“We are relieved this case has been settled. This has been a very difficult four years to endure for our Freeman community, especially for the families of the victims. The plea agreement closes this chapter of the tragedy and avoids having to experience the trauma all over again. We are so proud of our students, staff, and parents who have been resilient and resolute in moving forward on our road of recovery. We want to thank all those who have stood by Freeman and offered their love and support. Your kindness will never be forgotten. We are Freeman Strong.”

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