Innocent Plea in School Shooting
TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A 13-year-old boy accused of opening fire on his middle school classmates with a 9mm handgun has pleaded innocent in an attempt to avoid prosecution as an adult, his lawyer said today.
The youth appeared Monday in a closed-door juvenile proceeding where prosecutors gave notice of the allegations. Authorities have declined to identify the boy by name.
Neither Muskogee County District Attorney John David Luton nor the teen-ager’s attorney, Jim Wilcoxen, would comment on what charges were listed on the juvenile petition.
But Wilcoxen said the boy pleaded innocent ``in order to resist what we consider to be an inappropriate and unfair attempt of adult certification.″
``This child has absolutely no previous contact with law enforcement,″ Wilcoxen said. ``He’s only 13 years old. This act, though serious, is totally an aberrant act.″
Luton is seeking to have the boy charged as an adult. The seventh-grader has been held since Dec. 6 when four students were wounded and a fifth injured by a ricocheting bullet outside the middle school.
The boy could get life in prison if he is convicted on adult charges of shooting with intent to kill. If he remains in the juvenile system, he could be in custody until age 19.
Students who witnessed the shooting identified the shooter as Seth Trickey. His parents, Randy and Debbie Trickey, asked for forgiveness in a statement Friday, saying they were struggling to make sense of the event.
Luton said Monday’s hearing was the first in a lengthy process to have the boy certified as an adult.
Investigators said at least 15 rounds were fired during the attack. Interviews with dozens of students, teachers and the boy’s friends have given no hint of a motive, Police Chief Richard Slader said last week.