SPOKANE, Wash. -- After a week of emotional testimony, Judge Michael Price ruled Tuesday that the admitted Freeman High School shooter should be tried as an adult. Caleb Sharpe was 15-years-old when he fatally shot one classmate, wounded three others, and rocked his entire community.
Judge Price spoke for almost an hour before revealing his decision. Had he decided to try Sharpe as a juvenile, Sharpe would have been released by the time he turned 21-years-old. Sharpe is charged with one count of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder and 51 counts of second-degree assault for the September 2017 attack.
One courtroom was not enough for Tuesday's hearing. An overflow courtroom had to be utilized.
Judge Price told the court he's heard things "most can't even imagine" during his time on the bench, but this still shocked him.
"I didn't know about all the planning and details that went into the attack on Freeman High School students," he said. " Mr. Sharpe drew a map of the Freeman campus and planned what route he would take to get in and up to the hallway where he knew, there would potentially be hundreds of students gathering that day."
Prosecutors say the fact that the AR-15 Sharpe brought with him jammed, can only be described as "miraculous." The judge said had it not, there would have likely have been dozens more hurt, or worse.
Judge Price said the weapons Sharpe used were not "carelessly" left out at his home. He said Sharpe was "somehow" able to gain access to the AR-15 and another weapon. He loaded the guns and ammunition into his golf bag. The judge made note of the fact that Sharpe also told detectives despite thinking about the school shooting for up to two years prior, it wasn't until the hours before that he decided to do it for certain.
"On the day before the shooting, his final determining factor was a coin toss to decide if his classmates would live or die," the judge said.
The judge considered multiple factors in his ruling including Sharpe's likelihood to re-offend. He told the court he was troubled that no one could assure him that Sharpe wouldn't spend his time in juvenile detention planning another attack.
In the moments prior to announcing his decision, Judge Price told the Freeman community he is so sorry for their pain.
"The fear and anxiety of these students is so extreme," he said. "Clearly, you all continue to grieve. It is not unreasonable to expect that these events will haunt the victims for the rest of their lives."
KHQ asked defense attorney Bevan Maxey to comment on the repeated testimony about Caleb Sharpe's lack of remorse.
"I do know there is a significant amount of remorse," he said. "I would like to talk about where he is now rather than where he was. He has grown."
Sharpe will now have an arraignment in adult court in the coming weeks. A trial date has not yet been set.
SPOKANE, Wash. - After days of testimony, a judge has finally decided that admitted Freeman High School shooter, Caleb Sharpe, will be tried as a an adult.
The decision came on Tuesday, July 23, after people poured into the overflow courtroom.
This is an ongoing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
SPOKANE, Wash. - The question of whether the accused Freeman High School shooter will be tried as an adult or a juvenile will finally be answered after days of emotional testimony.
On Tuesday, July 23, by 1:30 pm, the next direction of the case will be clear. A judge will decide if Caleb Sharpe, who is now 17, will be tried as a juvenile or an adult.
If the judge decides Sharpe will be tried as a juvenile, he will be out in four years without any mandatory supervision. It's something prosecutors say could jeopardize the entire community.
There's one thing both prosecutors and defense attorney's agree on; What happened at Freeman High School on the morning of September 13, 2017, was as awful as it gets.
In closing arguments, defense attorney Bevan Maxey told the judge that he believes "everyone involved is hurting."
However, prosecutors have maintained Sharpe has displayed no remorse. They say he meticulously planned this school shooting for as long as two years.
Maxey reminded the judge of his expert's findings, that Sharpe may have suffered from a brain injury. Maxey told the court their findings indicate Sharpe was incredibly immature with an undeveloped sense of responsibility.
Prosecutors see it much differently. They say Sharpe, who was less than four weeks shy of turning 16 at the time of the shooting, committed an adult act that should come with adult consequences.
The judge told the court he's been weighing his decision heavily since last week, even spending his off time considering it.
KHQ will have the details when that decision is made tomorrow.