Defense tries to get STEM School Highlands Ranch case sent to juvenile court

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CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- A reverse transfer hearing for one of the accused STEM School Highlands Ranch shooters continued Tuesday.

Alec McKinney's former high school dean took the stand in the hearing that the defense team is using to get the case sent back to juvenile court.

Casey Turnbaugh said in testimony that the 16-year-old was "on his radar" a year before the May school shooting.

At his previous school, Turnbaugh said McKinney often skipped class and was suspended for distributing drugs.

The suspect's aunt told the court that during childhood, the boy witnessed domestic violence. The boy began crying as his aunt said his father beat his mother.

In the spring, Turnbaugh testified that the suspect stole his mother's prescription medication and gave it to a student, who overdosed.

The suspect's mother transferred him to STEM in the fall of 2018, just months before he was accused of carrying out the deadly shooting.

On Tuesday, the defense called several behavioral health professionals to testify about the suspect's mental state. Many of them said he heard voices and suffered from hallucinations.

But the prosecution tried to poke holes in the defense, showing a health assessment suggesting he did not hear voices. Instead, it was the suspect's own internal dialogue connection to his low self-esteem.

A month before the shooting, the suspect told his therapist that he wasn't doing well and was failing most of his classes, but never made verbal threats about hurting anyone.

On Monday, a judge ruled the suspect will stand trial in the case.

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