Junior high gun case goes to jury

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The future of 13-year-old Luke Andrews is being determined by a Scott County jury that must decide if he intended to kill his seventh-grade teacher, or was just desperately seeking attention when he pointed a loaded handgun at her Aug. 31.

Assistant County Attorney Julie Walton on Tuesday told jurors Andrews planned to execute social studies teacher Dawn Spring in front of her first period class, but appeared confused when the safety prevented the gun from firing.

"Luke Andrews had a plan," Walton said in her closing argument Tuesday morning. "But thank God that plan failed."

Defense attorney Melanie Thwing told jurors Andrews' only plan was to get attention. She noted testimony from three witnesses who said Andrews divulged an intention to bring a gun to school, but they never responded to him. The first response came from Spring as he aimed a handgun at her. Her kind concern made Andrews lower the weapon, Thwing said.

"He calms down because he's finally getting what he wants, which is the attention," Thwing said. "Luke knew how guns worked. ... Luke had time in that classroom if he wanted to shoot someone, to look down, take the safety off, point it at Dawn and shoot her."

Judge Marlita Greve on Tuesday directed the jury to determine verdicts on:

One Class B felony charge of attempted murder, punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Jurors also could find him guilty of the included charge of felony assault.

One Class D felony charge of carrying firearms on school grounds punishable by up to five years in prison.

One aggravated misdemeanor charge of assault while displaying a dangerous weapon punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $6,250. Jurors could also find him guilty of the included charge of misdemeanor assault.

Find details of all the testimony and photos of the trial in The NSP’s full coverage in Wednesday’s print edition and online at northscottpress.com.

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