EPHRATA – The 15-year-old Moses Lake boy accused of shooting his parents will likely face adult charges by the end of this week, according to Grant County Prosecutor Angus Lee.
Lee said prosecutors are currently in the process of filing charges against the boy in Grant County Superior Court.
The boy was originally charged with two counts of attempted murder in juvenile court, according to a previous Columbia Basin Herald article. He allegedly took a .22 caliber pistol out of a locked gun case, loaded it and waited around 90 minutes before deciding to shoot his parents in March.
At the time, he reportedly told police his parents grounded him from video games and other electronic devices.
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His parents survived the incident.
The boy’s declination hearing, which is when the defense attorney argues that the case should stay in juvenile court, took place earlier this month.
Visiting Douglas County Superior Court Judge John Hotchkiss heard testimony from various witnesses, including three experts, during the two-day hearing. He filed his decision, declining juvenile court jurisdiction, late last week.
Hotchkiss wrote that his decision was based on the eight Kent factors (criteria outlined in Kent versus United States).
One of the factors is the seriousness of the alleged offense.
“There is very little question that this offense is as serious an offense as one can engage in,” he wrote. “Had the defendant been successful at what is alleged, both his mother and his father would have died.”
Other factors look at whether the alleged offense was committed in an aggressive manner, previous criminal history and prospects for adequate public protection.
Hotchkiss said the only Kent factor that supported retention of juvenile jurisdiction was the factor that addressed the sophistication and maturity of the defendant. He cited two of the expert witnesses, who testified the defendant’s sophistication and maturity were behind those of his age group for the typical juvenile offender population.
However, Hotchkiss said a trial court could consider those issues during any sentencing proceedings, should the defendant be convicted in adult court.
Hotchkiss wrote that the court was concerned that, “without appropriate precautions and DOC (Department of Corrections) supervision that the public would be in danger,” which is why he decided to ultimately decline juvenile jurisdiction.
He said diagnoses of depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder that were brought up during the hearing did not explain the alleged actions taken by the defendant.
“As intimated by the prosecution, several young people experience and have been diagnosed with ADHD and depression,” he wrote. “This does not explain the intentional premeditated act of shooting both your parents in the head while they are sleeping.”
Hotchkiss also said he was concerned with the fact that the victims were the defendant’s parents.
“This court believes that an attempt to murder one’s parents shows an extreme lack of conscious and gives the court great concern as to what the defendant may have done and/or may do to somebody in the future that he has no close association with,” he wrote.
Defense attorney Lyliane Couture was unavailable for comment as of press time Monday.