Tuttle may plead guilty in school gun case

12-year-old accused of bringing weapons, ammunition to school

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

Updated: March 4, 2014, 4:31 PM

 

Twelve-year-old Quincy Tuttle may plead guilty to charges related to accusations that he brought a handgun and ammunition to Vancouver’s Frontier Middle School.

Deputy Prosecutor Abbie Bartlett said during a hearing Tuesday in Clark County Juvenile Court that she and Tuttle’s defense attorney, John Lutgens, are negotiating a plea bargain. Lutgens said he has already discussed the negotiations with Tuttle’s mother.

He has been charged with attempted murder and other weapons-related crimes. Bartlett did not say what specific charges to which Tuttle would be required to plead guilty as part of a potential plea bargain.

Lutgens on Tuesday conceded to the findings of a state capacity evaluation. The evaluation by psychiatric experts at the Child Study and Treatment Center in Lakewood found that Tuttle knew right from wrong at the time of the weapons incident.

“At this point, we have found competency, as well as capacity, so we should be able to move to arraignment,” said Superior Court Judge Scott Collier.

Collier scheduled a March 13 arraignment hearing at which Tuttle may plead guilty.

Tuttle planned to shoot a student who may have bullied his friend by calling him “gay,” according to court records. He allegedly brought the gun and ammunition to the school, where he was a sixth-grader.

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.

Bartlett was required by state law to prove that Tuttle knew right from wrong because he was 11 when the crimes allegedly occurred.

“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 allegedly committed.

Bartlett also had to prove that Tuttle is competent, which means he is able to assist in his defense, before he could be arraigned or tried.

Collier found Tuttle competent to stand trial on Dec. 18.

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