Two fifth-grade boys, ages 11 and 10, were arrested at Ft. Colville Elementary School in Colville on Thursday, Feb. 7 after police and school officials discovered their plot to murder a female classmate and possibly other classmates, according to court documents released by the Stevens County Prosecutor’s office on Feb. 13.
The two boys have been charged with Conspiracy to Commit First Degree Murder along with other crimes in the juvenile department of Stevens County Superior Court. The court will hold a hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 20 to determine whether the boys had the mental capacity to commit the crimes. In Washington, children age 8-12 are presumed to not have that capacity but that presumption can be overcome in some cases by evidence of certain factors, according to Prosecuting Attorney Tim Rasmussen.
The boys’ plan to murder classmates was stopped after a fourth-grade student reported seeing the older boy on the bus with a knife before school on that Thursday morning. A school employee immediately contacted the boys to question them about the knife and search their backpacks. The younger boy’s backpack contained a 3.25-inch knife, a .45 caliber Remington 1911 semi-automatic pistol, and ammunition.
The school staff immediately contacted the Colville Police Department and separated the two boys for questioning. Questioning by staff and police revealed that the boys had been planning for about two weeks to lure the female student away from the school and then the older boy was going to stab the girl with the knife while the younger boy was supposed to use the gun to prevent others from interfering. The boys also identified six other students that they planned to attack in a similar manner, according to the documents.
In explaining the reason for the planned attack, the younger boy said he had once been in a short dating relationship with the girl and that now “She’s rude and always made fun of me and my friends.” The older boy said that he had been friends with the girl for several months but she had since become rude and would pick on him.
Another boy apparently was aware of the plan but was going to be paid $80 to keep it a secret, according to the court filing.
When the older boy was asked if he knew the plan was dangerous and unlawful he replied, “Yes, and I wanted to kill her alone at first.” When the younger boy was asked the same question he replied, “Yes, I just want her dead.”
The court papers said the younger boy admitted that he had stolen the pistol from his older brother’s bedroom. A subsequent interview with the brother revealed that he had stolen the gun from his deceased grandfather’s home a few months ago. Police verified that the handgun was registered to the grandfather and that the weapon was functional.
The two boys are currently being held at Martin Hall juvenile detention facility.
In a written statement, Colville school Superintendent Michael Cashion praised the fourth-grader who initially spotted and reported the knife to school staff. He also commended staff and police for their work while encouraging parents to “get involved” and be aware of what is happening in their children’s lives.
By Jared Arnold, The Independent Staff