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Trial in Freeman school shooting case scheduled for Jan. 18

November 16, 2021 GMT

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A Spokane County judge has barred Caleb Sharpe from offering a diminished capacity defense for his trial stemming from the Freeman High School shootings in 2017.

The decision by Judge Michael Price last Wednesday comes just weeks before Sharpe’s trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 18, The Spokesman-Review reported Tuesday.

In August, Price denied Sharpe’s request to offer an insanity defense, saying the request was “very last minute.” The defense has appealed that decision, among other appeals of pretrial rulings, but the Court of Appeals has yet to consider the case.

Sharpe faces multiple counts including murder and assault stemming from the Sept. 13, 2017, shootings that killed 15-year-old Sam Strahan and injured three other students at the high school south of Spokane. Price has ruled Sharpe will be tried as an adult, despite being 15 when the shooting took place.

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A person with diminished capacity has a mental condition that makes them unable to form specific intent necessary for the commission of a crime. Dr. Craig Beaver concluded that some elements of diminished capacity defense were evident during his evaluation of Sharpe, but he concluded that Sharpe’s ability to form intent to commit crimes wasn’t affected.

Sharpe remains in custody at the Spokane County Jail. He faces a potential life sentence.