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Washington 5th-graders Accused of Planning to Kill Classmate at School

<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: arial, sans-serif; line-height: normal; text-align: left; ">The effort to prosecute two boys, ages 10 and 11, for allegedly bringing weapons to a Colville school in a plot to kill a classmate is posing legal challenges because the suspects are so young.</span><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: arial, sans-serif; line-height: normal; text-align: left; "><br></span>

SPOKANE, Wash. -  The effort to prosecute two boys, ages 10 and 11, for allegedly bringing weapons to a Colville school in a plot to kill a classmate is posing legal challenges because the suspects are so young.

The state's criminal justice system presumes that children below the age of 12 do not have the capacity to understand they are planning to commit crimes, Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen said Thursday.

A judge can allow prosecutors to pursue criminal charges in juvenile court for children between the ages of 8 and 12, but only if prosecutors can show the youths understood the difference between right and wrong.

The boys were arrested at Fort Colville Elementary School on Feb. 7 after a fourth-grader saw one playing with a knife on the school bus and told a school employee. 

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