NOBLESVILLE, Ind.–A provision in a bill that would have allowed children as young as 12 years old to be tried as adults for attempted murder was taken out of that bill earlier this week.
The bill was originally filed in response to the Noblesville West Middle School shooting last May. That suspect was 13 at the time. Indiana law currently only allows juveniles that young to be charged as an adult if they commit murder – not attempted murder.
It passed a committee with unanimous support.
Late Tuesday night, though, a House-Senate conference committee took that part of the bill out before giving it to Governor Eric Holcomb. In its final form, the bill makes various changes to Indiana’s criminal code, including new standards for declaring convicts habitual offenders.
On November 14th 2018, the shooter (who had confessed to the shooting) was sentenced to juvenile prison until he turns 18. The judge determined that the Indiana Department of Correction may decide to put the shooter on probation until he turns 18.
Noblesville West Middle School teacher Jason Seaman was shot three times that day. He said Indiana law should allow for greater punishment for such violent acts. Ella Whistler, a student at the middle school, was shot seven times. Her family agreed with Seaman.
The Indiana Public Defender Council didn’t like that provision. They say young kids that commit these crimes need rehabilitation, not necessarily punishment. Other opponents of it were concerned that the law would be used to disproportionately target minorities, while some legal experts said children that young did not have the mental capacity to understand their actions.
(PHOTO: WISH TV)