Records detail plot by fifth-graders to kill classmates
Court documents released today give chilling details about the plans two fifth-graders from Colville had in place to kill a girl classmate and possibly others on the day they were caught with a knife and gun in school last week.
The boys, ages 10 and 11, remain in custody on the charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, tampering with a witness and conspiracy to possess a firearm after they were arrested last Thursday before school started.
Under Washington law, children ages 8 to 12 are presumed not to have the mental capacity to form the intent to commit crime.
However, Deputy Prosecutor Lech Radzimski will present the court records to a judge at 1 p.m. on Feb. 20 to try to show why law enforcement officials believe they have enough evidence to overcome that presumption.
Authorities discovered the plan when a fourth-grader came forward and told a school employee. Colville police officers then arrived at Fort Colville Elementary School and began questioning the boys, who admitted the plot and gave details about how they were going to kill a girl in their class, according to court records.
A detective stood with the boys as they waited for transport to Martin Hall when he overheard one of the boys tell the other: “If I find out who told them about our weapons I’m going to kill them. I don’t care when I get out of jail I’m going to come back and kill them.”
Colville School District Superintendent Michael Cashion is hosting a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. today at Colville High School to allow community members to discuss the case. Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen, law enforcement and other elected officials are expected to attend.
The case began on the bus ride to school. A fourth-grader saw one of the boys playing with a knife.
As soon as the bus arrived at school about 7:45 a.m., the boy approached school employee Richard Payette.
The boy told Payette what he saw on the bus and Payette asked the 11-year-old suspect whether he had a knife. The boy “denied any knowledge of the knife” and a search of his backpack came up empty.
But a teacher suggested that Payette search the 10-year-old’s backpack because he was with the 11-year-old on the bus. Payette searched the second boy’s backpack and found a knife, a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol and a full ammunition clip.
A different staff member, Debbie Rogers, then asked the 10-year-old why he had the gun. The boy said he and the 11-year-old were going to “get” a girl identified in court documents only by initials.
“When asked what he meant by ‘get” her, (the 10-year-old) responded that he and (the 11-year-old) were going to get (the girl) away from the school and do her in,” court records state. The 10-year-old “further stated that the (11-year-old) was going to stab (the girl) with a knife and (the 10-year-old) was supposed to keep everyone away.”
The 10-year-old “admitted to Ms. Rogers that there were other students that he and (the 11-year-old) wanted to kill and they had been planning this for a while.”
Rogers then spoke with the 11-year-old, and he told essentially the same story, saying that he and the other suspect wanted to kill the girl “because she was really annoying,” court records state. “I was going to kill her with the knife and (the 10-year-old) was supposed to use the gun to keep anyone from trying to stop me or mess up our plan.”
Rogers then obtained a list of students in their fifth-grade class, and the 11-year-old showed her six more names of students they were going to target.
The boys were then sequestered into two different rooms and family members were summoned to be present during the police interviews. When asked why he knew he was being questioned, the 11-year-old answered: “Yes because we were going to kill” the girl, according to the court records.
Asked about his relationship with the girl, the 11-year-old said that he had been friends with her for several months “but that he hated her now,” Officer Scott Arms wrote. “He also indicated that (the girl) had recently become rude and would pick on him.”
The 11-year-old said the 10-year-old was part of the plan and that they were going to pay a third student to keep their plan secret.
When Arms asked the boy if he knew his plan was dangerous, the 11-year-old replied yes. “I wanted to kill her alone at first,” the boy replied without displaying any emotion, the documents say.
Next, the officer interviewed the 10-year-old with his father present. Asked if he knew why he was being questioned, the boy replied: “Because we wanted to kill” the girl, the officer wrote. “When asked why, (the 10-year-old) replied, ‘She’s rude and always made fun of me and my friends.’”
Upon further questioning, the younger boy said he had been in a “short dating relationship” with the girl but would not give any specifics. He admitted bringing the gun and knife to school: “It was going to go down today,” he said, according to the documents.
The 10-year-old explained that he stole the gun from his older brother. Interviews with the brother revealed that he had stolen the handgun from his late grandfather’s home a few months ago.
The brother “said that he kept the firearm in his bedroom and that his brother must have found his hidden key and removed the case and the gun,” Detective Ron Maxey wrote in court documents.
When Arms asked the 10-year-old if he knew what he was planning was dangerous and against the law, the boy replied: “Yes, I just wanted her dead.”