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District Attorney Won't Seek Death Penalty In STEM School Shooting Case

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Prosecutors will not pursue the death penalty against the older of the two teens charged in a shooting at a suburban Denver school that killed a student.

In a court filing on Thursday, 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler did not explain the decision not to seek capital punishment for the 19-year-old defendant. Brauchler said that the parents of Kendrick Castillo, who was killed in the May 7, 2019, shooting, supported capital punishment.

However, he noted the defendant's lawyers could have argued against the death penalty because of his age, lack of a criminal history and other mitigating factors. He said it was not appropriate to publicly discuss other factors in his decision at this time.

The decision comes as Colorado is poised to become the 22nd U.S. state to abolish the death penalty. Last week lawmakers approved a repeal bill that Democratic Gov. Jared Polis has pledged to sign. In his filing, Brauchler noted that the bill does not apply to murder cases charged before July 1. 2020.

The 19-year-old defendant has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges in the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch. The other student charged in the shooting, who is 16, pleaded guilty last month under a deal that gives him a chance to be paroled after serving 25 years in prison.

Even though the 16-year-old was prosecuted as an adult, he is eligible to be paroled because he was a juvenile at the time of shooting.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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