A King County judge opted to maintain the status quo Tuesday, ordering two teenage boys to remain in juvenile detention for their alleged roles in a fatal shooting last week at North Seattle’s Ingraham High School.
The teens, ages 14 and 15, appeared separately before Chief Juvenile Judge Averil Rothrock one day after prosecutors filed criminal charges accusing the 14-year-old of premeditated first-degree murder and assault, and the 15-year-old of felony first-degree rendering criminal assistance. Both teens, who are not old enough to legally have guns, were each also charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
“This is a highly charged and emotional case,” Rothrock said after barring the media from filming or photographing the 14-year-old in court, an order that also applied to the 15-year-old.
The Seattle Times does not identify juvenile defendants unless they are charged as adults.
Though the 15-year-old entered not guilty pleas, Rothrock granted Senior Deputy Prosecutor Brent Kling’s request to delay the 14-year-old’s formal arraignment until after a discretionary decline hearing can be held to determine whether his case will be moved to adult court.
While 16- and 17-year-olds accused of serious violent offenses can be automatically charged as adults, younger teens charged with murder are subject to discretionary decline hearings, where a judge weighs eight factors, known as the “Kent factors,” to decide whether to move a case to adult court.
The 14-year-old’s decline hearing was set for Feb. 15, but Rothrock acknowledged she doesn’t expect the parties to be ready to proceed by then, given the time it typically takes to compile expert reports and other information about a teen’s background. She confirmed with the 14-year-old that he agreed to waive his right to hold the hearing in the next two weeks.
In ordering the 15-year-old to remain in detention, Rothrock said that while the boy isn’t considered an accomplice and wasn’t at the shooting scene, she remains concerned for public safety and didn’t want to create a situation where the 15-year-old would face additional pressure to comply with the court’s usually-strict conditions of release. A juvenile probation officer also recommended the teen remain in detention.
Parents of both teens appeared in court but left without talking to members of the media.
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office still has not publicly released the identity of the 17-year-old shooting victim.
Cindy Sandino-Chang, a Seattle Police Department victim advocate, read aloud a short statement from the 17-year-old’s family, who objected to either teen being released from detention.
“The family does not wish this pain of losing a child on anyone,” Sandino-Chang said, adding the family wants to see “all parties involved held accountable.”
Both teens were arrested Nov. 8 on a Metro bus in North Seattle, about an hour after the 14-year-old was accused of shooting the 17-year-old from behind in a school hallway and continuing to fire after the older boy fell to the floor, according to charging papers. The 14-year-oldalso was accused of firing at least one round at another older teen, who ran away and was not hit, the charges say.
About 10 minutes before the shooting, the 17-year-old was involved in a fight with five other students in a school bathroom in a failed attempt to take a gun from one of the 14-year-old’s friends, who had brought the weapon to school, the charges say. The Glock 32 handgun had been reported “lost” to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 28, but charging papers don’t say how it ended up in the hands of a North Seattle high school student.
The Glock was found in the 15-year-old’s backpack and has been presumptively matched to eight .357-caliber shell casings police found in the school hallway, the charges say.