(CBS4) – The 18th Judicial District Attorney will not be seeking the death penalty for defendant Devon Erickson in connection with the murder last May of Kendrick Castillo at the STEM School Highlands Ranch. Castillo’s father John told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger the DA’s office had discussed the decision with him and his wife before filing with the court. The couple had hoped that capital punishment would be sought for Erickson.
The 19-year-old is one of two defendants in the case. The other defendant, 16-year-old Alec McKinney, recently pleaded guilty to murder charges.
McKinney had claimed the shooting was motivated by bullying related to transgender issues. McKinney was born a female who identifies as male.
Police say the teens walked into the school on May 7 and opened fire with handguns in two classrooms. Castillo, 18, was killed when he and two classmates tackled one of the shooters. The other was captured by an armed security guard.
Erickson is scheduled for trial in late May.
The Colorado Legislature passed a bill last month that would abolish the death penalty for crimes that take place in the future. So far Gov. Jared Polis hasn’t signed the bill into law, although he is expected to. Polis has indicated that he’s leaning towards commuting the death sentences of the three inmates who currently are on death row in the state.