A judge in northeast Washington state has found two boys, ages 10 and 11, competent to stand trial in juvenile court on a murder conspiracy charge. Prosecutors say the fifth-graders had a handwritten plan listing seven steps leading up to the planned killing of a female classmate. A county judge ruled yesterday that the boys understood the nature and consequences of their actions. They pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, witness tampering, and juvenile possession of a firearm.
The boys were arrested Feb. 7 at Fort Colville Elementary School after a fourth-grader saw one playing with a knife on a school bus and told a school employee. A backpack search also turned up a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol and ammunition. The Spokesman-Review reports the boys are being held on $100,000 bond each. Both a defense psychiatrist and a state psychologist say they present a danger to the community. (Read more Washington state stories.)