STEM School Shooting Suspects Appear In Court
Update 5/10: Both suspects originally had been scheduled to appear for formal charges on Friday, May 10. That court date has been vacated and new a hearing for charges is now scheduled for Wednesday, May 15 at 10 a.m.
The two teenagers accused of opening fire on classmates at the STEM School in Highlands Ranch appeared separately before a judge Wednesday afternoon.
Devon Erickson, 18, hung his head through most of the hearing, his face covered by shaggy black-and-purple hair. He entered the courtroom with his wrists shackled at the waist and clothed in a red Douglas County Jail jumpsuit.
He nodded along as the judge addressed him, and only spoke when he was asked a direct yes-or-no question.
Erickson will be held on 29 suspected counts of attempted murder and one count of first-degree murder after deliberation.
There had been some confusion as to the second suspect’s gender before the hearing. After initially being reported as male, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said Wednesday morning that the suspect was actually female.
That was cleared up at the advisement by the suspect’s defense lawyer. He told the court his client uses male pronouns and prefers a masculine first name. Pending formal charges, Colorado Public Radio will withhold his name as they are a juvenile.
Since the suspect is under 18-years-old, his mother was able to sit next to him throughout the hearing. His attorney also cited his age in requesting the case be reassigned to a magistrate. The judge denied the request, saying her court regularly hears juvenile cases.
The question then is whether District Attorney George Brauchler will charge the suspect as an adult. He told reporters he hadn’t decided yet.
“I want to consult with more of the victims,” he said. “I want to get as much of the decision done to make that decision.”
Brauchler added that the juvenile suspect will be held on the same counts as Erickson.
During the hearing, the judge also granted a request from Brauchler to suppress evidence while the investigation is underway. He hopes that information becomes public once there’s no longer a threat of media accounts interfering with people’s recollection of what happened.
“I want the integrity of this investigation to be at the highest potential level,” he said. “I want to get the best witness statements I can untainted by any additional investigation that might come up.”
The parents of Kendrick Castillo, the lone student killed in the attack, were also in attendance. They watched from the center of the courtroom front row, resting their heads against each other as they cried.
Editor's Note: Colorado Public Radio's policy is to minimize the identification of perpetrators of mass violence, using that information only when it is essential to the story.
CPR Reporter Sam Brasch contributed to this report.
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