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Boy, 11, on trial for elementary school murder plot

By Ian Cull, KXLY4 Multimedia Journalist, ianc@kxly.com
Rob Kauder, Internet Content Manager, robk@kxly.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 09:45:20 AM CST
Updated On: Oct 10 2013 08:48:37 PM CDT
Fort Colville Elementary student on trial for murder plot
COLVILLE, Wash. -

The trial of a Fort Colville Elementary School boy, who allegedly planned to kill a classmate at school, started Thursday in Colville.

The defendant, who is 11 years old, stands accused of planning to stab the victim while another boy would fend people off with a handgun.

Prosecutors are trying to show the 11-year-old planned to attack and kill his female classmate at school in the bench trial.

Young students took the stand Thursday, describing what they saw, talking about plots of murder on the day the defendant was taken into custody.

"I was sitting in my seat and he was right across from me, and he was messing with a knife," one classmate said.

Another witness, a friend of the defendant, said the boy was targeting a girl who made fun of him. He also explained when he first heard of the plan and that he was offered cash to keep quiet.

Defense attorneys tried to find inconsistencies in the state's case and how teachers and law enforcement found and documented the knife and gun.

School counselor Deborah Rogers testified the defendant had anger challenges and extreme outbursts, and said when he was caught on Feb. 7 he confessed.

"He said he was going to use the knife to kill (the victim) and that (another boy) was supposed to use the gun to hold off anybody or stop them from interfering with his plan," Rogers said.

The two boys involved in the plot allegedly brought a knife and handgun to Fort Colville Elementary School for the attack, which was thwarted by another boy, Justin Sanders, who saw the knife on the school bus.

Sanders, who was 10 at the time, spotted that knife and alerted school staff. He was later honored for his bravery by the Colville School District.

"I was watching him playing with his backpack. He got off walking and slipped. Still playing with his backpack, zipper open, tripped and there was a bunch of papers and also a knife," Sanders said. "After it happened it scared me really bad so went inside and tried to go find Mr. Richards."

School staff later discovered the boy had not only a knife, but a gun, ammunition and a plot to kill a female classmate.

The other defendant in the case, who is 10, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, juvenile in possession of a firearm and witness tampering charges this last summer. Judge Allen Nielson sentenced him to three-to-five years in custody.

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