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New Mexico school shooter to be confined until age 21

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Boy who shot two students at his New Mexico middle school is to be confined until age 21, a judge rules
Two students shot at a New Mexico middle school testify in a sentencing hearing for the boy who opened fire

A 12-year-old New Mexico boy who shot two students in his Roswell middle school was sentenced Wednesday to remain in state custody until he turns 21, the maximum allowed under state law.

The boy, who has not been identified because of his age, brought a gun to Berrendo Middle School on Jan. 14 and opened fire in the gym before classes began. A teacher approached him and convinced him to drop the weapon, officials told the Los Angeles Times on the day of the shooting.

He was charged as a juvenile because state law bars charging minors as adults unless they are at least 14. Last month, he pleaded no contest to charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. The boy has since turned 13.

Prosecutors sought the maximum punishment, while the boy’s lawyers asked that he be put into treatment for two years and then released when doctors determined he was no longer a threat.

After a daylong hearing Wednesday, District Judge Freddy Romero agreed with prosecutors.

The injured students, Nathaniel Tavarez and Kendal Sanders, testified at the hearing.

"My eyes continue to be a problem and require many surgeries," said Nathaniel, 12, who was shot in the face and neck. "Still to this day, I have to go to many doctor's appointments."

Kendal, 13, was shot in the shoulder and, her family said, still has lead pellets in her body. Kendal said in a statement read by the prosecutor in court that she forgave the boy.

Prosecutor Matthew Chandler introduced the shooter's notebook, which detailed the boy's plan to take revenge on those he believed had bullied him.

"Hi, everyone," Chandler read from the notebook. “If you’re reading this, I’m probably in jail. I did what I wanted to do. ... I grabbed a .20-gauge shotgun and heavy-duty saw. ... Tomorrow will be fun."

Other witnesses included a school security officer, a teacher, a New Mexico state police officer and the boy’s father and grandfather.

Albuquerque television station KRQE live-streamed and live-blogged the hearing.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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