An insanity plea abandoned James W. Parker Middle School, Edinboro, Pa., April 28, 1998--Students embrace following a memorial service for John Gillette, a science teacher who was shot and killed during a school dance April 24, 1998 by Andrew Wurst, an eighth-grade student. Wurst later pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in the death of the 48-year-old teacher, who was killed when Wurst opened fire at a dance at a banquet hall. He also wounded two students and held a gun to the principal's head. The boys lawyers had planned an insanity defense, but encouraged their client to agree to the guilty plea for fear jurors would not accept that Wurst was mentally ill. A month before the killing, Wurst told classmates at James W. Parker Middle School that he wanted to kill people and commit suicide. Another classmate noticed that Wurst was becoming curt and unfriendly in weeks before the shooting. In civil court, victims families argued that Wurst, then 14, got the handgun and ammunition used in the shooting from an unlocked dresser drawer.
Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times