CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4) – More than one year after two gunmen opened fire on students at the STEM School Highlands Ranch, one of the teenage shooters, Maya “Alec” McKinney, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Kendrick Castillo was killed in the May 7 shooting last year while trying to save other students. Several other students were wounded by gunfire.
“My wife and I will never have closure, we will never find peace,” Kendrick’s father, John Castillo said in the courtroom.
He and several other STEM families were in court as a judge sentenced McKinney to a life sentence plus 38 years with the possibility of parole.
“It’s what’s to be expected from our juvenile system… nothing more, nothing less. It was, it is,” Castillo said.
Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler, who prosecuted the case, argued for a maximum sentence that would have added more than 400 years to the life sentence.
He wanted to send a message to the community and said the sentence handed down by the judge doesn’t do that.
“Kendrick Castillo was murdered and the intent was to murder everyone in that room. They pulled the trigger 13 times,” Brauchler said. “I wanted a sentence that reflected that intent and that planning.”
Castillo says his son, his only child, was his life. Now that Kendrick is gone, he’s had to find new purpose, leading to a life of activism for school safety and an ongoing fight for change.
“There has to be an end, there has to be justice, there has to be protectors allowed to protect and people who disagree need to speak up, need to be a voice,” Castillo said.
In September 2019, a judge found that McKinney’s alleged accomplice, 19-year-old Devon Erickson, could be prosecuted on 44 charges that include murder and attempted murder.
Erickson pleaded not guilty in January to first-degree murder and 16 other charges. Erickson is scheduled to face a jury trial in September.