ONTD Political

Fifth-graders plot school murder with knife and handgun

6:22 pm - 04/06/2013
Fifth-graders murder plot with knife and .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun (original source, 2/15/13)

Two-fifth graders allegedly devised a murder plot to kill several classmates by using a knife with a 3¼-inch blade and a .45-caliber Remington 1911 semiautomatic handgun. The knife and the semiautomatic handgun with an additional ammunition clip were found in the backpack of a 10-year-old student at Fort Colville Elementary School in eastern Washington.

According to a Los Angeles Times report on Feb. 14, 2013, the knife and the semiautomatic gun were discovered on Feb. 7, 2013, shortly before 8 a.m. when a fourth-grader told a teacher about having seen a fifth-grader with a knife. When the backpack of the 11-year-old fifth-grade student and that of his 10-year-old friend were searched, the teacher found the weapons in the 10-year-old’s backpack.

“When questioned separately shortly after the weapons were discovered, the boys admitted their plot, authorities said. ‘I was going to kill her with the knife and [the other boy] was supposed to use the gun to keep anyone from trying to stop me or mess up our plan,’ the older boy told detectives. When shown a class list, the boy identified six other classmates who were targeted.”

In regard to the motive for the fifth-graders’ alleged murder plot, the older fifth-grader said that he used to be the targeted girl’s friend for several month but that “he hated her now.” The fifth-grader also commented in regard to the motive for the murder plot that the girl "had recently become rude and would pick on him" and that they allegedly wanted to kill her “because she was really annoying.”

Stevens County prosecuting attorney Timothy Rasmussen said on Thursday that "This was a plan. And it was a plan to kill."

The prosecutor in the case of the two fifth-graders who devised a murder plot also commented that in Washington State, children under the age of eight are considered incapable of committing criminal acts and that children between the ages of eight and 12 are similarly considered incapable of committing a criminal act but that a court hearing would determine whether children at that age are capable of committing a crime. The hearing for the two fifth-graders is set for Feb. 20, 2013.

The charge filed against the two fifth-graders who allegedly devised a murder plot against seven other students with a 3¼-inch blade knife and a .45-caliber Remington 1911 semiautomatic handgun included “charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and witness tampering.”

The charge of witness tampering was filed because the boys offered another student $80 if he would not tell anyone about the two fifth-graders alleged murder plot.

Source 1
Fifth-graders murder trial: Murder plot with knife and .45-caliber semiautomatic (update to original source, 3/30/13)

A fifth-graders murder trial will take place and the two fifth-graders, a ten-year-old and 11-year-old boy accused of having planned to rape and kill a girl and eliminate six other classmates if they got in the way, will be tried as juveniles. During an arraignment hearing on Friday in which the two fifth-graders pleaded not guilty, a judge determined that both fifth graders “will stand trial as juveniles,” reported Reuters on March 29, 2013.

On Feb. 7, 2013, the two fifth-graders allegedly devised a murder plot to kill a girl and several classmates by using a knife with a 3¼-inch blade and a .45-caliber Remington 1911 semiautomatic handgun.

The knife, the semiautomatic handgun, and an additional ammunition clip were found shortly before 8 a.m. in the backpack of the 10-year-old student after another fourth-grade student told a teacher about having seen a fifth-grader with a knife.

“When questioned separately shortly after the weapons were discovered, the boys admitted their plot, authorities said. ‘I was going to kill her with the knife and [the other boy] was supposed to use the gun to keep anyone from trying to stop me or mess up our plan,’ the older boy told detectives. When shown a class list, the boy identified six other classmates who were targeted.”

Both fifth-grade students were attending Fort Colville Elementary School in eastern Washington, about 215 miles east of Seattle, and have since been suspended from school.

After the news about the two fifth-graders murder plot became public in February, it was unclear on how a judge would approach the case.

In Washington State, children under the age of eight are considered incapable of committing criminal acts and that children between the ages of eight and 12 are similarly considered incapable of committing a criminal act but that a court hearing would determine whether children at that age are capable of committing a crime.

On Friday, Stevens County Superior Court Judge Allen Nielson determined during the hearing that the boys had the capacity to understand right and wrong and that they can stand trial despite their age.

The 10-year-old suspect was charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, juvenile firearm possession, and witness tampering. The 11-year-old was charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, possession of a dangerous weapon at school, and tampering with a witness.

If the two fifth-graders will be found guilty of all charges, they could be facing sentences from “103 to 127 weeks” which are about two to three years. [OP: WHAT?! That's IT??]

Stevens County prosecuting attorney Timothy Rasmussen commented in regard to the fifth-graders murder trial and the actions of the two boys that "This was a plan. And it was a plan to kill."

Source 2

OP: I...don't know what to say. Jesus Christ. That poor little girl and her family. 2-3 years seems like an absurdly short sentence for these boys, who honestly sound like little sociopaths in the making. But what do we do with children like these? Do we lock them up for life? Try to rehabilitate them? Can they be rehabilitated?

(edited to add more tags)
pepsquad 7th-Apr-2013 01:54 am (UTC)
no they cant be rehabbed. they are already sociopaths.
tiddlywinks103 7th-Apr-2013 02:11 am (UTC)
Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnooooooo. Geez.
schexyschteve 7th-Apr-2013 02:02 am (UTC)
We need some "learn to deal with your feelings" classes in this country, because jfc

Oh, and also some basic gun safety classes, because HOW THE FUCK DOES A 10 YEAR OLD GET A GUN?!
spyral_path 7th-Apr-2013 07:39 am (UTC)
He took it from his older brother's room and it originally belonged to his grandfather.

tiddlywinks103 7th-Apr-2013 02:08 am (UTC)
Ok, the solution is not to just punish these kids, without pinpointing where, in society or in their households we failed them. Because we did. They are only 10 and 11. Unless they are diagnosed as sociopathic, they are simply products of what we allowed them to be exposed to, and think was ok.

These kids learned that people who annoying deserve to die, that a gun is the ultimate example of power, that they cannot trust the adults in their lives to stop bullying, they have to do it all on their own. We also taught them to have zero empathy for each other, and by doing the good ol' American "BLAME AND PUNISH!!", we do not teach these kids to do better, just that if you get caught, you will be locked away, and labeled a criminal for life.

This smacks of quickly scapegoating these kids for how we failed them, as a society, so we don't have to confront what we are. I do not like it.
wingstar102 7th-Apr-2013 02:10 am (UTC)
+1 to every bit of your post.
wingstar102 7th-Apr-2013 02:08 am (UTC)
Starting to sound more and more like I should homeschool my son in a cabin in the middle of the woods. It'd be safer there!
thedorkygirl 7th-Apr-2013 02:39 am (UTC)
(All this is hazarding a guess AND my opinion)

These are little kids who don't really understand the consequences. A fifth grade who watches the news (with his parents?) & gets inspiration for this should be evaluated on all levels, including the sort of adult support he has at home. They need serious counseling and a lot of help.
ceilidh 7th-Apr-2013 05:45 am (UTC)
Fifth graders are old enough to understand right from wrong, especially when it comes to killing people.
lamardeuse 7th-Apr-2013 04:34 am (UTC)
I find it really interesting that nowhere in this article is the responsibility of the parents even mentioned. How the fuck, for instance, did they get their hands ona handgun with an extra ammo clip?
cozmic_oceanz 7th-Apr-2013 04:43 am (UTC)
yeah, wondering the same...
spyral_path 7th-Apr-2013 04:45 am (UTC)
I'm really bothered by their having access to a gun and a knife, but choosing to use the gun to keep anyone who might interfere at bay and to use the knife to kill the girl. Anyone can figure out that it's easier to kill someone by shooting them, so why didn't they just shoot her? That means they either thought it through enough to not want a gunshot to attract attention, or that the boy wanted the visceral experience of stabbing someone to death.

I'm hoping the choice of weapons was because they're young and inexperienced and hadn't really thought about it, but they had a more detailed plan than a lot of homicidal adults can come up with so I'm thinking they're sociopaths and everything they did was for a reason.

If they really are sociopaths I don't think they can be rehabilitated in the classic sense of the word. A person who kills without remorse is not like a person who robs liquor stores because he doesn't have any other way to make a decent living. But it might be impressed upon them that it's not that easy to get away with murder and that killing someone for being annoying is more trouble than it's worth. I hope so, because three years is not much time at all for attempted murder.
tallycola 7th-Apr-2013 06:53 am (UTC)
I'm glad they're not being charged as adults or getting more than three years, because prison would just be murder school for these two, and other reinforce whatever ideas they have that they are victims and violence will help them.

Don't sociopaths/psychopaths who are diagnosed as adults have different trends in violence as kids? Like torturing animals or beating up other kids? Not all psychopaths are murderers and even then, from my understanding, they usually start outright murder plots at least as teens if not adults.

They need tons of therapy, and I sincerely hope their families are investigated, and it goes without saying they should never be allowed to buy weapons as adults. Somebody obviously taught them that violence was a normal response.

Edited at 2013-04-07 06:53 am (UTC)
bestdaywelived 7th-Apr-2013 07:44 pm (UTC)
In all fairness, we don't know if they started hurting and killing animals first. That usually starts at a younger age, so yeah, if they wanted to attack other kids, they're at the right age.

Plus, there are always exceptions, like Mary Bell. She killed her first victim at age 6.
lovedforaday 7th-Apr-2013 10:56 am (UTC)
I feel horrible for the girl and the other kids that were these boys' potential victims.
kharmii 7th-Apr-2013 12:08 pm (UTC)
Trigger warning? Seriously?

I LOL-ed at that they allegedly wanted to kill her “because she was really annoying.” What ten year old girl isn't really annoying?

We're talking about 10-11 year olds, so counseling would probably be the best...for the whole family. Some kind of abuse is going on in their households if they are plotting serious murder so young. With the rise of single mother households, we'll see more cases of children being abused or molested by the revolving door of boyfriends, causing them to act out in troubling ways.

Edited at 2013-04-07 12:09 pm (UTC)
cinnamontoast 7th-Apr-2013 04:15 pm (UTC)
What ten year old girl isn't really annoying?

Yeah, pretty much this. What ten year old boy isn't really annoying too? That age is just full of annoying. And stupid.

Kids don't have the reasoning facilities or the empathy of adults.
mahsox_mahsox 7th-Apr-2013 12:11 pm (UTC)
There are plenty of grown men (some raised by perfectly fine families) who behave homicidally when dumped and/or mocked, and I've always been sure that most of the cultural basis of their crimes is already in place by the teen years, merely awaiting the addition of adult hormones and freedoms as the final ingredients. So while I'm shocked to see kids so young doing this, I also know that what is probably unusual about them isn't that they were capable of putting together the plotline to a revenge rape and spree murder and felt that such action was justified, but instead that they felt more motivated than an eleven year old would usually be to actually take steps towards committing the crime.

I wouldn't be terribly surprised if the 11 year old had experienced early puberty. And maybe the other kid is more typical for his age and just along for the ride because of friendship and stupidity.
__nocturna 7th-Apr-2013 01:00 pm (UTC)
Crazy kids scare the shit out of me.
pleasure_past 7th-Apr-2013 02:43 pm (UTC)
Wow. I... I'm a little bit speechless, but I hope all seven of the victims are okay and getting whatever help they need to feel safe at their schools and in general. I can't imagine what a fifth grader must be feeling after finding out something like that. This is unbelievably fucked up.
the_glow_worm 7th-Apr-2013 03:21 pm (UTC)
That is some fucked up shit.
angelofdeath275 7th-Apr-2013 06:53 pm (UTC)
disgusting little shits. when i was in middle school my two friends by 3 asshole that escalated to the point that one of them threatened to rape my friend.

so yeah. boy will be boys in action. will not be surprised if no parent or teacher did nothing.
furrygreen 7th-Apr-2013 07:39 pm (UTC)
Whether they are sociopaths or not, they probably will be if they're forced to stay in jail for decades. They need to be rehabbed. Compassion or not aside, they're ten and eleven. It's not feasible to say just lock them up. They won't be in jail forever and, if they ARE, sociopaths, we're just giving them an excellent education in the worst side of our society.

Our criminal system doesn't work and throwing these kids head first into that won't help anyone. Maybe it's their ages? I dunno. What they were planning was terrible but... at ten and eleven, it almost seems more kind just to execute them.
rex_dart 7th-Apr-2013 08:10 pm (UTC)
Pretty sure people tried as juveniles can't go to jail for decades.
akashasheiress 7th-Apr-2013 08:16 pm (UTC)
Not trying to rehabilitate would be cruel and idiotic.
bgd_thrifty 7th-Apr-2013 09:15 pm (UTC)
As far as I'm concerned, sending them to jail will do nothing. Two to three years might not seem like a long time, but imagine the conditions they'll be in. They will miss out on formative education and will likely spend the rest of their lives playing catch-up (if they're not written off completely or don't end up back in jail). They may then go on to perpetuate the cycle of criminality and we will have come no closer to making sure these things don't happen.

Perhaps it's because I've been reading back on childhood writings of mine, but children can have dark thoughts and if they have access to weapons and misguided anger enough... I don't believe that children are born evil and I think that we don't have enough facts to go on here. There are all sorts of things that can have gone into the forming of this situation and we know nothing of their home lives.

I'm so relieved that they were found out because this could have been a sickening tragedy.

EDIT: I also find it hard to believe that there weren't major warning signs for this. Parents and teachers excusing or ignoring bad/threatening behaviour most likely.

Edited at 2013-04-07 09:17 pm (UTC)
corbyinoz 7th-Apr-2013 10:18 pm (UTC)
The ignorance and hatred in this thread is downright scary.

These boys did something disgusting, hateful and shocking. But they *are* children. There are many, many aspects of this that are deeply disturbing, but I would be looking very hard at the home situations of both, would be looking at intense therapy for the boys, and would strongly suggest the same for the girl and her family, who must be traumatized.

Children of ten and eleven know right from wrong, of course they do! But they often can't/don't contextualise, and they can be developmentally incapable of empathic imagining. They frequently have very poor causal links in their reasoning (boys in particular). An example; I punished one of my sixth graders for something he'd done less than half an hour before, and he was bewildered, and quite frustrated and upset, when that meant he couldn't have a class treat. He couldn't see that his actions lead directly to his punishment. (BTW, his home life? Appalling).

Children of this age who commit suicide leave 'you'll be sorry' notes, with the concomitant notion that they'll be there to see it and so feel justified. They *don't* get that death is permanent. They think of running away from home as an adventure or a punishment for parents, they don't understand one bit how devastating that is for parents to go through, how dangerous it is for them. I can't stress enough; children at 10 and 11 think *differently* to adults. We *cannot* expect the same level of reasoning. This is not fuzzy feel-good 'aw poor little lamb' stuff; this is science, folks, this is years and years of research with children. These boys horrify and terrify me; but the thought of giving up on them horrifies me more.
gambitia 8th-Apr-2013 01:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for this comment.

Children are smarter than we often give them credit for being, and they can act startlingly mature at times--but they still do not think or process like adults. Just because their plan was freakishly intricate and well thought-out does not mean a 10-year-old suddenly has the full reasoning power and intellectual and emotional maturity of an adult.

I feel no sympathy for these boys, but I do realize that for this sort of thing to happen, something somewhere went very, very wrong. I don't see how expressing the fact that none of us live in a vacuum somehow equates to "these boys are the *real* victims!".
maenads_dance 7th-Apr-2013 11:51 pm (UTC)
This is a weird thread. I think it is completely natural to wonder what "went wrong" with two ten year old kids such that they would conspire to carry out a crime so horrific, and so violent that most adults would blanche at the very thought. "What went wrong" may be sociopathy/psychopathy/ASPD, or it may be that these kids grew up in abusive households, or both, or neither. We really don't know. And I think it is completely fair to ask -- "Why?"

And completely unfair to say that people are insufficiently concerned for the victims if people are asking why. Asking "why" is important because knowing the why may help us prevent other children from turning out this way, and it may help in the rehabilitation of these kids, who will not be in jail until they're forty, or even sixteen. God knows I wouldn't want one of these boys anywhere near a normal public school again, but at some point these kids are going to be out and free, and it would be good if they turned out more like Mary Bell and less like Jon Venables.
tallycola 8th-Apr-2013 01:56 am (UTC)
Truth. I don't know what kind of society people are living in that criminals of ANY age lose any right to compassion, ESPECIALLY child criminals.
keeni84 8th-Apr-2013 12:27 am (UTC)
I'm fucking disappointed at some of the comments here. This is not a black-and-white issue, and bringing up Steubenville like it's some deck in a card to be played is pointless and insulting to every person here. We're smarter than that.

Preteens who somehow gained access to a knife and a gun, and created an intricate plan to rape and murder fellow classmates is not the same as two teenagers who sexually assaulted a girl. DUH.

That girl and her classmates and YES, even these kids who planned to harm their fellow classmates, deserve justice. That doesn't include the bullshit I've seen here.
maenads_dance 8th-Apr-2013 01:33 am (UTC)
Yeah; I really hate these conversations where people talk about "throwing away" kids who are violent or mentally ill - the last time this came up was with the "I am Adam Lanza's Mother" article back in December, when a lot of supposed feminists were talking about troubled teenagers as if they were "bad seeds" and not, as so often, products of unstable and abusive upbringings, poverty, and other forms of deprivation.
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