Experts: Tuttle knew right from wrong

Judge may rule March 4 on capacity of boy who allegedly planned killing

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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Twelve-year-old Quincy Tuttle knew right from wrong when he allegedly planned to kill a student at Vancouver’s Frontier Middle School.

That was the conclusion of a state capacity evaluation by psychiatric experts at the Child Study and Treatment Center in Lakewood, Clark County Superior Court Judge Scott Collier said at a Tuesday hearing in Juvenile Court.

Tuttle’s attorney, John Lutgens, said he plans to hire defense expert Christopher Johnson, a psychologist from Vancouver Guidance Clinic, to review the evaluation.

Collier scheduled a March 4 review hearing, where he may rule on Tuttle’s capacity and arraign him on multiple charges, including first-degree attempted murder.

Deputy Prosecutor Abbie Bartlett is required by state law to prove that Tuttle knew right from wrong because he was 11 when he allegedly brought a handgun and 400 rounds of ammunition to the school, where he was a sixth-grader.

“Capacity” is the legal term for knowing right from wrong. The prosecution has the burden to prove capacity when a defendant is between 8 and 11 years old at the time a crime is committed.

Tuttle planned to kill a student who may have bullied his friend by calling him “gay,” according to a court affidavit.

Tuttle was arrested Oct. 23 after school officials found the handgun, ammunition and his parents’ kitchen knives in his pockets and backpack, court records said. He has been in custody at the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center since then.

Collier on Dec. 18 found Tuttle competent to stand trial despite arguments by Lutgens that he’s too young to assist in his defense. Both competency and capacity must be established before Tuttle may be tried.