On May 7, two teens carried out a shooting at the STEM School in Highlands Ranch. The shooting injured eight and killed one. The crime and all its implications came as a shock for the LGBTQ community.
Alec Mckinney is a trans man. He, alongside Devon Erickson, will be tried as an adult. This brought up conflicts for many and heavy debates due to Mckinney being only 16 years of age. In 2016, Colorado altered laws regarding the sentencing of a minor to conclude “the mandatory minimum sentence for 16-year-old McKinney is life with the possibility of parole after 40 years minus earned time. The maximum sentence under the plea agreement is life with the possibility of parole after 40 years minus earned time plus 407½ years in the Department of Corrections.”
Mckinney pleaded guilty to 17 counts, and some of the counts were dropped due to his plea deal. One of the charges was the first-degree murder of Kendrick Castillo. Castillo is hailed as a hero for lunging at Erickson, which granted enough time for other students time to escape the catastrophe.
Erickson’s fate regarding his place in the shooting has yet to be determined. Erickson plead not guilty the second of this year and has a trial date set in May. Mental health may be used as a factor in court explaining the then-18-year-old’s actions of last spring. The trial is expected to last three weeks. According to CBS, the District Attorney has 62 days from January 2 to decide if the death plenty will be sought out for Erikson.
The pair’s actions appear to be a planned-out event. Erickson told his co-defendant that Mckinney was planning to have a confrontation at the school. However, misanthropic writing was written in Erickson’s garage before being set aflame prior to their arrival to school.
When asked about the results of Mckinney’s decision to plead guilty, John Castillo stated, “At the end of the day, no matter what happens in the courtroom, the results are always going to be the same.”