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Attorney: Noblesville School Shooting Suspect To Admit To Attack

court-room-desk-with-papers-and-mic_becca-costello_1U4A9919.JPG

(Becca Costello, WFIU/WTIU News file photo)

The 13-year old charged in this summer’s Noblesville school shooting will make a “juvenile admission” to the crime at his next court hearing in November. 

The suspect’s attorney, Chris Eskew, says the admission in juvenile court is equivalent to a guilty plea in adult criminal court.

“Except you are not admitting guilt because you have not been charged with a crime,” Eskew says. “So he is not being convicted of anything, he is making admissions to the allegations that the state has brought against him.”

The suspect faces charges from the May 25 shooting at Noblesville West Middle School, which injured two people – seventh-grade teacher Jason Seaman and student Ella Whistler.

Those charges would be two felony counts of attempted murder, aggravated battery, battery using a deadly weapon, and possession of a firearm on school property. But since the student is younger than 14 and not charged with murder, he cannot be tried as an adult, according to Indiana law.

Indiana Public Broadcasting is not naming the suspect because he is not charged as an adult.

Eskew says after the admission is made Nov. 5 in Hamilton County Circuit Court, the disposition process, similar to sentencing, will begin. He expects the court will hear testimony.

The judge can determine if the defendant should be placed under the wardship of the Department of Corrections until rehabilitation programs are completed, and/or ordered to receive psychological or other medical care, or other actions.

Eskew says there is no "plea deal" with the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office. The judge, he says, is free to determine the rehabilitation. 

The juvenile hearing was set for Sept. 10 and 11 in Hamilton County Circuit Court. On Wednesday the court approved delaying the hearing until Nov. 5.

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