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Parker Chronicle 11

May 17, 2019

STEM shooting suspects Step-up being held without bond your savings:

Teens make first court appearances in Castle Rock BY JESSICA GIBBS JGIBBS@COLORADOCOMMUNITYMEDIA.COM

The two teenagers arrested on suspicion of shooting nine students at STEM School Highlands Ranch, killing 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, appeared in court for the first time on May 8 at hearings attended by students who survived the shooting and Castillo’s family. One of the suspects is Devon Erickson, a STEM student who is being held at the Douglas County jail without bond. Erickson, 18, was booked on one count of first-degree murder and 29 counts of attempted first-degree murder, according to court records. The second suspect is a juvenile student at STEM, also being held without bond, and it was not immediately known what charges were pending. Colorado Community Media will not identify the juvenile suspect, who is 16, unless that suspect is charged as an adult. Both suspects were expected to be formally charged on May 15 after a May 10 hearing was postponed. The morning of May 8, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said authorities mistakenly identified the juvenile suspect as a male the day of the shooting only to learn after conducting further interviews the suspect was female. He could not confirm how the suspect identifies, but said the department was considering the suspect female. A defense attorney for the suspect told District 1 Judge Theresa Slade at the May 8 hearings in Castle Rock the teenager uses “he” pronouns and a different name from what was listed on the docket. Two handguns were recovered during the investigation of the May 7 shooting, Spurlock said. Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler said he had not yet decided on charges for the suspects or if he would pursue charging the 16-year-old as an adult. If he does, the court ultimately decides whether the case would remain a juvenile case or not, he said. Charging the suspect as an adult would change the type of sentence he could face if found guilty. “This is the beginning of what’s likely to be a long process,” Brauchler said after the hearing. When officers brought Erickson into the courtroom, he barely looked up — face buried under thick hair dyed half black and half a bright

‘These are people that are still dealing with the fact that a little more than a day ago they had a son. Now they don’t.’ George Brauchler, 18th Judicial District attorney pink. He stooped deep in his chair and did not speak except for when Slade required he verbally answer a question instead of shaking his head. The 16-year-old, with short, cropped hair and a gray collared shirt, sat upright and looked up at the judge for most of his hearing. Seated in the courtroom were Castillo’s parents. The family did not comment during the hearing. “These are people that are still dealing with the fact that a little more than a day ago they had a son,” Brauchler later told reporters. “Now they don’t.” Also in attendance was 17-yearold Jack Denler, a junior at STEM. Denler said he was in the hall when the shooting broke out on May 7. As alarms started to ring, he rushed to his classroom and took cover. Denler heard two loud sounds, which he later realized were gunshots. Slade temporarily granted a motion from the people to suppress the case file entirely. Brauchler said the motion was temporary, and he would move to release the documents later. Slade also issued protection orders against both suspects that prohibit them from contacting victims named in the order, consuming alcohol or drugs, possessing firearms, visiting STEM or contacting each other. Brauchler said he would have 63 days following an arraignment to give notice of his plans on whether to pursue the death penalty. Before hearing room doors opened May 8, a group of people, including the juvenile suspect’s mother, stood huddled in a circle in the hallway, looking down and staying mostly silent. They did not respond to media requests for comment between their arrival and the start of the hearing.

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