5th-grade boys to stand trial for murder conspiracy

COLVILLE, Wash. (AP) - A northeast Washington judge has found two boys, ages 10 and 11, competent to stand trial in juvenile court on a murder conspiracy charge.

Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen says the fifth-graders had a handwritten plan listing seven steps leading up to the planned killing of a female classmate. That list was submitted as evidence at their mental capacity hearing Friday.

A county judge ruled that the boys understood the nature and consequences of their actions. They pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, witness tampering and juvenile possession of a firearm.

The boys were arrested Feb. 7 at Fort Colville Elementary School after a fourth-grader saw one playing with a knife on a school bus and told a school employee. A backpack search also turned up a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol and ammunition.

A staff member then asked the 10-year-old why he had the gun. The boy said he and the 11-year-old were going to "get" a girl identified in court documents only by initials.

"When asked what he meant by 'get' her, (the 10-year-old) responded that he and (the 11-year-old) were going to get (the girl) away from the school and do her in," court records said. The 10-year-old "further stated that the (11-year-old) was going to stab (the girl) with a knife and (the 10-year-old) was supposed to keep everyone away."

Colville police officers were called to the school and began questioning the boys, who admitted the plot and gave details about how they were going to kill a girl in their class and possibly harm a half dozen other students, court documents said.

A detective who stood with the boys as they waited for transport to a juvenile hall overheard one of them tell the other: "If I find out who told them about our weapons I'm going to kill them. I don't care when I get out of jail I'm going to come back and kill them," court records said.

The Spokesman Review reports the boys are being held on $100,000 bond each. Both a defense psychiatrist and a state psychologist say they present a danger to the community.