BLOOMIGTON — A 14-year-old student facing 14 felony charges in a tense shooting incident at Normal Community High School classroom last month has been found fit to stand trial.
Assistant State’s Attorney Bill Workman said Wednesday that a recently completed psychiatric evaluation concludes the teenage boy meets the legal requirements of mental fitness. That means he understands the nature of the charges against him and can assist in his defense.
The fitness determination does not mean the teen does not have mental health issues. At a hearing shortly after the incident, defense lawyer Art Feldman said the suspect has been receiving mental health treatment since he has been held at the county’s juvenile detention center.
Between now and a Nov. 6 pretrial hearing in juvenile court, the state will determine if a request will be made to have the matter moved from juvenile to adult court, said Workman.
Under juvenile court rules, the boy may be held until he is 21 if he is convicted on the weapons and unlawful restraint charges. In adult court, that sentence could be longer and include time in adult prison.
If the case stays in juvenile court, the suspect will have a bench trial rather than a jury trial that could occur in adult court.
Charges accuse the teen of bringing three handguns, a hatchet and a knife to school. The gun was fired several times into the ceiling of the classroom during an incident at the end of first-hour health class. A teacher is credited with gaining control of the situation that forced evacuation of the school and a massive police response.
Under juvenile court rules, the boy’s name is not a matter of public record.