On May 7, a shooting incident at the STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado caused the death of one student and injuries to eight others. In a recent preliminary hearing, the judge ruled that the prosecution had sufficient evidence to proceed with taking the case against the 19-year-old alleged participant to trial. Reportedly, the defendant claims to have been coerced into committing violent crimes by his 15-year-old friend, who was alleged to have pulled the trigger.
According to court documents, the younger student convinced the 19-year-old to help to kill as many classmates as possible. The guns they used were allegedly stolen from a safe in the home of the defendant. According to the defense, the 15-year-old did the shooting while the 19-year-old prevented the students from escaping the room.
During the preliminary hearing, the judge had to find probable cause to proceed to trial, at which time, the standard will be raised to proof without a reasonable doubt. The teenager could face attempted murder and murder charges along with more than 40 other criminal charges. No pleas had been entered yet, and the defense attorneys are reportedly trying to have the 15-year-old’s case moved to juvenile court.
Even though the judge has found enough grounds to allow the violent crimes case against the 19-year-old student to go to trial, he will remain innocent in the eyes of the law unless and until convicted in court. An experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney will have the opportunity to create reasonable doubt, which will prevent the prosecution from proving guilt. If that happens, there can be no conviction, and an attorney will always work to protect his or her client’s rights and best interests in the hope of securing the most favorable outcome possible.