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Trial for suspect in school shooting pushed back to 2021

July 24, 2020 GMT

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The trial of accused Freeman High School shooter Caleb Sharpe has been pushed back to next June, nearly four years after the deadly incident, because of delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sharpe is charged with killing classmate Sam Strahan and wounding three girls in the 2017 shooting at the rural high school south of Spokane.

Sharpe was 15 at the time, but Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael Price ruled last year that he will be tried as an adult and faces up to life in prison.

Sharpe faces one charge of first-degree murder, three counts of first-degree attempted murder and 51 counts of second-degree assault.

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Price agreed Thursday to push back the trial date after Sharpe’s public defenders, Anthony Beattie and Brooke Foley, along with prosecutor Kelly Fitzgerald, said trial preparations were impeded by the pandemic.

Sharpe has been jailed for nearly three years. In agreeing to wait another year for his case to be heard, he waived his right to a speedy trial.

The judge noted that COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise in the Spokane area and that he does not know how realistic the new trial date is.