Murder plot allegation against fifth-graders stuns town

Boys planned to use weapons to lure a fellow student outside the school and kill her “because she was really annoying.”
Feb 15, 2013


In what has become a chillingly familiar event across the country, school authorities in eastern Washington recently discovered a gun and a knife in the backpack of a student. But what stunned the small town of Colville was whom the backpack belonged to: a 10-year-old student at Fort Colville Elementary School.

School authorities said two fifth-grade boys planned to use the weapons to lure another student outside the school and kill her “because she was really annoying.”

The boys last week confessed to plans to harm an additional six students at the school.

“This was a plan. And it was a plan to kill,” Stevens County prosecuting attorney Timothy Rasmussen said Thursday.

Rasmussen said he would argue that the 10-year-old and his 11-year-old codefendant be held criminally responsible on charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and witness tampering — a charge filed after authorities said the boys promised to pay $80 to a student if he agreed not to tell anyone about the plot.

According to a court affidavit made public this week, the incident came to light shortly before 8 a.m. on Feb. 7, when a fourth-grader told a teacher he had seen an 11-year-old boy with a knife.

The teacher searched that boy’s backpack and that of his 10-year-old friend and found the weapons in the friend’s backpack. They included a knife with a 3 1/4-inch blade, a .45-caliber Remington 1911 semiautomatic handgun and an ammunition clip.

“My background is a high school counselor and psychologist, and quite frankly, in 30-plus years, I never heard of anything like this at this age level,” said Colville School Superintendent. Mike Cashion.

Rasmussen was also nonplussed.

“To me, 10- and 11-year-olds do bad things,” he said. “They throw rocks through windows. They shoot BB guns at people’s cars. They hit people with sticks, they set a cat on fire. Those are things that children do. But this was a plot to kill.”

When questioned separately shortly after the weapons were discovered, the boys admitted their plot, authorities said. “I was going to kill her with the knife and (the other boy) was supposed to use the gun to keep anyone from trying to stop me or mess up our plan,” the older boy told detectives.

When shown a class list, the boy identified six other classmates who were targeted.

The older boy said he had been friends with the girl for several months “but that he hated her now.” He said the girl “had recently become rude and would pick on him.”

“The plan was nipped in the bud by other students who saw something and said something,” Cashion said, adding that the school had been promoting a program that encourages students to report suspicious things.

Rasmussen said students younger than 8 were considered incapable of committing criminal acts in Washington state. For children between the ages of 8 and 12, the law presumes they are similarly incapable but calls for the court to hold a hearing to determine whether they had the capacity to commit a crime. That hearing is set for Feb. 20.

At a community meeting Wednesday night, Cashion said one parent expressed gratitude that because of the alertness of school staff, the gathering was a forum and not a funeral.

Another asked whether authorities would entertain the possibility of providing teachers with guns in the classroom. Cashion said he responded that the option was under consideration by the Legislature, but that most teachers weren’t trained to use guns.

“I told them I can’t imagine a teacher taking a gun out, leveling it at a fifth-grader and killing them,” he said. “It’s the antithesis of what we are.”


By Kim Murphy - Los Angeles Times (MCT)

©2013 Los Angeles Times

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They set cats on fire? I was ten once, never set a cat on fire. I didn't know that was one of "the things that children do." If one of my children set a cat on fire I would be seriously concerned for their mental health. I also never plotted murder though, so I guess times are changing. Hide your cats!


I thought the same thing! I never did any of those things when I was a kid lol! I found that comment very disturbing. But the whole situation is very disturbing. I hope they can figure out where the kids got the gun from & throw them in jail!


You think the 10-11 year olds are bad for setting cats on fire, they'll be drowning puppies next!!!! Guess that's what they do


Agreed. But if I had ever even thrown a rock at a car, or hit someone with a stick, my mom would have made sure that I knew it was wrong, and you can bet your bottom dollar it would never have happened again. Mom, thanks for making me aware of right from wrong.


So where does an 11 year old just pick up a .45? If the child got this gun at home the parents better be charged as well. PARENTS need to be responsible.


Parents need to guard their child's mind and not let them watch that kind of trash on TV. Where do you think they got the idea for a murder plot? They most likely watched a violent TV series or movie with the parents.


Hope the parents do not let them watch the news either. There are more and more violent stories on the news. With the recent violence it seems they show MORE and MORE. My children can watch a tv program and know it is not real. What do you tell a child watching the news?


My worry about adding guns to school is that it would just make them that more available to children (just like guns at their home). Unfortunately you can't give a "who is a responsible person" test along with a gun permit. I have no answer to that. I do think the student who reported to the teacher is the real hero. Very brave to tell on your classmates, especialy these who are seeking retaliation.


Sounds like a serial killer in the making! A fifth grader should know the difference between fiction and reality and right and wrong. It's the parent's fault he was able to get a gun but the rest is on the kid. Think about it, he only wanted to kill her because she was "annoying". I have not seen that on tv!


" Set cats on fire" hahaha!! I've never set a cat on fire. All I want to know is how in the HELL did the kid(s) get that gun?!!


hmmm.. when i was that age i had a 20 gauge shotgun. still got it almost 40 years later..


That was a different day & age. Gone are the days of hanging your shot guns on the wall.