Second Colorado school shooter found guilty, sentenced to life

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — A Colorado jury on Tuesday convicted a second person in a shooting outside a Denver school that left one student dead and eight other students and teachers wounded.

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Devon Erickson, 20, was convicted of first-degree felony murder by a Douglas County District Court jury for the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in May 2019, The Denver Post reported. The verdict, which came after a three-week trial and 4 1/2 hours of deliberation, ensures that Erickson will spend life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Erickson and Alec McKinney were arrested after allegedly opening fire on students at the STEM School Highlands Ranch on May 7, 2019, ABC News reported.

Erickson was convicted in the fatal shooting of classmate Kendrick Castillo, the Post reported. Erickson stood trial for 48 counts, including 43 felonies. KMGH reported.

Erickson was facing two counts of first-degree murder, one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and 31 counts of attempted first-degree murder, KUSA reported.

McKinney, who was born biologically female but identifies as male, pleaded guilty in February 2020 to 16 counts, including first-degree murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder after deliberation, according to ABC News.

McKinney testified against Erickson during the trial, KUSA reported. He was sentenced to life in prison but will be eligible for parole after 40 years because of his age at the time of the crime, the television station reported.

The most serious charges were tied to Castillo’s death, the Post reported. Castillo was killed by a single gunshot fired by Erickson just as the teen and two other students rushed at the gunman, the newspaper reported. Erickson fired the gun three more times before the students wrestled the gun out of his hand, according to the Post.

According to court testimony, Erickson and McKinney broke into a gun safe in Erickson’s home, the newspaper reported. The pair took three handguns and a rifle, which they smuggled into the school in a backpack and a guitar case.

McKinney used a cellphone to film the theft and Erickson snorting cocaine, the Post reported. According to McKinney’s testimony during Erickson’s trial, the idea was to make it appear that Erickson was forced into participating in the theft. Their actual plan was for McKinney to die either by suicide or by Erickson shooting him, the newspaper reported.