1. Archive

Psychologist: Student hoped to panic, not kill

A state-appointed psychologist testified Tuesday that a teenager accused of opening fire at his high school told him he didn't intend to kill anyone.

"I just wanted to cause a big panic," James Edwards said T.J. Solomon, 15, told him during an interview May 26, six days after the shooting that left six teens wounded.

Edwards said Solomon told him: "I didn't want to hurt or kill anyone. I wasn't really aiming at anybody. I aimed at objects, not people _ the wall, the floor, the cinderblock."

The testimony came in the second day of a hearing to determine whether Solomon should be tried as an adult or kept in the juvenile system. Defense attorneys, who called Edwards to testify, contend Solomon should be committed to a mental institution.

Solomon faces 21 charges, including aggravated assault and weapons violations. If convicted in Superior Court, he faces a sentence of up to life in prison. The maximum juvenile sentence is 60 months.

The hearing continues this afternoon, with closing arguments and perhaps a ruling from Judge William Schneider.

Defense psychologist Eddy Regnier testified that Solomon is severely depressed with psychotic tendencies. But after being asked directly by Schneider, Regnier said that if Solomon continued with medication, he could not be committed.

Earlier Tuesday, a victim of the May 20 shooting testified that she believes Solomon should be tried as an adult.

"If he gets off as a juvenile he could be out in a few months, and he doesn't need to be out," said Stephanie Laster, 15.