One Alleged STEM School Shooter Pleads Not Guilty

January 2, 2020
STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting suspect Devon Erickson makes a court appearance at the Douglas County Courthouse May 15, 2019, in Castle Rock, Colo.
STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting suspect Devon Erickson makes a court appearance at the Douglas County Courthouse May 15, 2019, in Castle Rock, Colo.
Pool photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post
STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting suspect Devon Erickson makes a court appearance at the Douglas County Courthouse May 15, 2019, in Castle Rock, Colo.

One of the alleged STEM School shooters pleaded not guilty to 44 felony charges on Thursday — and his attorneys raised the possibility that mental illness may be part of his defense.

Last May, Devon Erickson and Alec McKinney reportedly attacked their school in south metro Denver, killing one classmate and injuring nine others.

Erickson's attorneys told the court that they may bring the defendant’s mental health condition up at the trial. This triggers a psychiatric evaluation and may delay proceedings.

A “mental health condition” does not necessarily mean an insanity plea, his lawyer said.

During previous proceedings, including those for Erickson’s co-defendant Alec McKinney, who was 16 at the time of the shooting, Snapchat videos show the younger student forcing Erickson to drink alcohol and do cocaine hours before both entered the STEM school with several weapons.

Prosecutors, led by District Attorney George Brauchler, have not said whether they’ll seek the death penalty for Erickson. Brauchler has to figure it out in the next two months.

A 15-17 day trial is scheduled to start May 26. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys anticipate vetting up to 200 jurors.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Editor's Note: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this story said Devon Erickson faced 43 felony charges. It is 44.

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