DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Alec McKinney, the 17-year-old who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and other charges stemming from the May 2019 STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting, has been sentenced to life in the Department of Corrections with the possibility of parole plus 38 years.
Judge Jeffrey Holmes announced the sentence Friday afternoon.
In February, McKinney pleaded guilty to 17 charges related to the shooting that left one student, Kendrick Castillo, dead.
Castillo is one of the students credited with stopping the shooting.
Several of the original charges against McKinney were either dismissed or amended, and at least one count against him was added before he pleaded guilty.
Before the sentencing Friday afternoon, Castillo’s parents called McKinney an “evil killer” and said they would never forgive him.
McKinney also addressed the court via video call.
“I promise to live my life as a new person, a different person,” McKinney said while crying.
The shooter also said he frequently thinks and dreams about Castillo.
McKinney said Castillo taught him that “all life is, in fact, precious.”
In addition to Castillo being killed, eight people were wounded in the shooting.
A second student, 19-year-old Devon Erickson, was also allegedly involved in the shooting. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and had a trial scheduled for earlier this year. Because of coronavirus restrictions, that trial is now set to take place in September.
McKinney’s apology to the Castillo family fell on deaf ears.
“I didn’t stay in the court room to hear what the defendant had to say, and there’s a good reason for that,” said John Castillo, Kendrick’s father. “Smoke and mirrors, crocodile tears, lack of remorse, all of those things are reality.”
Castillo was disappointed McKinney was able to appear remotely, over a web camera.
“I don’t think it’s fair we have to sit here and look at somebody through a choppy TV screen with crocodile tears and no emotion. It’s a golden ticket for them, it doesn’t bring home the realism for what we feel,” he said.