Prosecutors charged a 14-year-old boy Thursday with attempted murder and said he committed a hate crime in the classroom shooting of an eighth-grader who was declared brain dead.
Prosecutors would not say why they filed a hate-crime enhancement with the attempted murder count, but several classmates said the 15-year-old victim, Lawrence King, sometimes wore makeup, high heels and other feminine attire.
Prosecutors want the suspect tried as an adult and expect to upgrade the charges after King is taken off a ventilator for organ donation. "It is inevitable that this is going to become a murder case," Ventura County prosecutor Maeve Fox said.
King was shot in the head Tuesday morning during a class at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, police said. More than 20 other students were in the room at the time.
King was pronounced brain dead at St. John's Regional Medical Center on Wednesday. He had been under the care of the county foster care system.
Convicted: A former student was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder Thursday in a 2004 plot to carry out a Columbine-style attack at a high school in Brockton, Mass., that never took place. Joseph Nee was acquitted of two other charges. His attorney said the plan by four students who called themselves NBK - "Natural Born Killers" - was never a real threat, but prosecutors rejected that argument. After Nee and two of the other students came forward in 2004, authorities uncovered a hit list, maps and files on bomb-building. "There have been three school shootings in the last six days. You have to take these things seriously," Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz said.