Jury set to begin deliberations in STEM School shooting trial

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CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (KDVR) — Closing arguments in the trial of a former STEM School Highlands Ranch student charged in a 2019 school shooting there ended late Monday afternoon.

Defense attorneys argued to the jury that Devon Erickson was forced to participate in the shooting, while prosecutors argued he intentionally helped carry out the shooting that left fellow student Kendrick Castillo dead.

Both sides were given an hour-and-a-half to make their closing arguments.

George Brauchler, the former 18th Judicial District Attorney who stayed on as a chief deputy to try this case, told the jury the videos shown in court proved Erickson was complicit in the shooting.

One video showed Alec McKinney, Erickson’s co-conspirator who’s already pleaded guilty to the crime, pushing Erickson to use cocaine.

Another showed the two breaking into a gun cabinet.

Brauchler told the jury videos were staged to make it look like McKinney was a lone actor forcing Erickson to participate, a claim McKinney testified to during the trial.

Brauchler argued Erickson was not forced into doing any of this.

“On May 7, 2019, the defendant, along with a suicidal friend, made war on a class full of fellow students and a couple of teachers. And in the process, they tried to kill all. They shot six and they murdered a hero,” Brauchler said.

Erickson’s defense attorney, David Kaplan, said there was no plan.

The defense said he wanted out of the plan but McKinney, who was out of control, sucked him back in.

The defense put much of the blame on McKinney, who the defense said was on a mission to create havoc.

McKinney is a transgender student who said he had been bullied.

Erickson, his attorney said, was weak and was trying to end the whole thing.

“There’s a period of time where he wants out. There’s no other explanation. He wants out,” Kaplan said.

The jury is expected to begin deliberating Erickson’s 48 counts, including first-degree murder, on Tuesday morning.

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