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Noblesville School Shooting Prompts Bill to Change Juvenile Sentencing Laws

Senate to vote next week on bill to allow 12- or 13-year-olds to be charged as adults for attempted murder

(INDIANAPOLIS) - The Noblesville school shooting last year may bring a change in how Indiana law treats teenage gunmen.

The student who wounded classmate Ella Whistler and seventh-grade science teacher Jason Seaman will be released from juvenile prison when he turns 18, because he was only 13 when he opened fire. Juvenile offenders can't be held past their 18th birthday unless they're charged as adults. And they can't be charged as adults unless they're at least 14, or commit murder.

Salem Senator Erin Houchin says it doesn't make sense that his sentence is that much lighter just because he didn't succeed in killing anyone. She says with school shootings becoming more frequent, the courts have to have the leeway to impose strong penalties.

A Senate committee has unanimously recommended Houchin's bill to allow adult charges for attempted murder too. It'd still be up to a judge to decide whether juvenile charges are more appropriate. The full Senate could vote next week.

Adults charged with attempted murder face 20-to-40 years in prison if convicted.

Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem) (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)

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