Jury Selection Begins For Trial Of Accused STEM School Shooter

STEM Highlands Ranch
David Zalubowski/AP
Bouquet of flowers sit on the sign outside the STEM School Highlands Ranch late Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Jury selection started today in the trial for one of the two alleged shooters in the 2019 attack at STEM School Highland Ranch. 

Six hundred potential jurors have completed questionnaires, the first step in the process.

Devon Erickson’s trial is scheduled to run through late June. It has been delayed several times because of the pandemic. He’s been in custody since being arrested on the day of the shooting, May 7, 2019.

The 20-year-old faces 46 criminal charges, including first-degree murder, for the shooting that killed senior Kendrick Castillo and injured eight others. Because he was an adult at the time of the attack. He faces life without parole if convicted of the most serious charges.

During questioning, Erickson told officers that he first learned of the planned attack when he received a Snapchat from his friend Alec McKinney the night before, warning him not to go to school. He told officers he considered warning authorities at several points, but after being threatened by McKinney, ended up going along with his plans.

The two allegedly broke into a gun safe at Erickson's house and brought the stolen weapons to STEM School, targeting a specific classroom. They separated but kept in touch through Snapchat and texts. During the attack, Erickson wielded a rifle, but said he only fired by accident after being tackled by several students.

At his preliminary hearing, defense attorneys portrayed Erickson as a young man under duress, who did not plan the attack and only participated reluctantly. Prosecutors argue Erikson had plenty of opportunities to try to prevent the shooting, and instead, sent McKinney a Snapchat stating, “go now” moments before it started.

McKinney pleaded guilty at the end of his preliminary hearing in 2020. Because he was 16 at the time of the attack, he will be eligible for parole in roughly forty years.