Juvenile Justice

Fifth grader is convicted in plot to murder classmate

A fifth-grade student in Washington State has been convicted of conspiring to kill a classmate he considered annoying.

The boy, who is 11 years old, left the courtroom in tears after Judge Allen Nielson announced his decision Friday, report the Associated Press, the Spokesman Review and KHQ. He is set to be sentenced on Nov. 8. Another boy, 10, had already pleaded guilty in the conspiracy and was sentenced to three to five years in juvenile detention.

Nielsen convicted the boy of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, calling the trial the most serious of his career because of the gravity of the offense and the age of the boys. “Simple anger—that is what fueled this,” Nielsen said.

The plot at Fort Colville Elementary School was discovered Feb. 7 when a fourth grader saw one of the boys playing with a knife on the school bus, according to the AP account. A search of the 10-year-old’s backpack turned up a knife, a gun and an ammunition clip.

The 11-year-old boy had told a school counselor he had planned to stab a classmate to death because she was “really annoying.” His co-defendant was supposed to point the gun at anyone who tried to intervene, she testified.

Defense lawyers had argued the 11-year-old boy had bipolar disorder and was unable to separate fact from fiction.

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