Teen sentenced to consecutive life sentences in Minn. school shootings
ST. CLOUD, Minn. – A 17-year-old who gunned down two classmates at school was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison, with no possibility for parole until he’s well over 50.”You devastated two families, you damaged a community’s sense of safety and you destroyed your own and your parents’ hope for the future,” the judge told Jason McLaughlin at his sentencing.McLaughlin was convicted of first-degree murder in the September 2003 shooting death of 14-year-old Seth Bartell, and second-degree murder for killing Aaron Rollins, 17.Witnesses at his trial described how McLaughlin brought his father’s pistol to Rocori High School in Cold Spring and shot Bartell, causing a minor wound. A second shot accidentally killed Rollins.McLaughlin then chased Bartell up a flight of stairs and fired a fatal shot into his forehead, witnesses said.McLaughlin’s mother argued that a life sentence would deny her son treatment for mental illness. But relatives of the slain students said he deserved the longest sentence possible.”Our family is no longer complete,” said Aaron’s mother, Sherry Rollins. “Jason handed us a life sentence without parole and he should get the same.”Tom Rollins said he hadn’t heard Aaron’s twin brother, Adam, say his name since he was killed.McLaughlin stared down as they talked about how he had destroyed their lives. He declined to speak during the hearing.His attorneys said McLaughlin felt persecuted by Bartell, and that he and other students called McLaughlin “pizza face” because of his acne.During the sentencing hearing, they called one witness, special education professor John Harvey Hoover of St. Cloud State University, who testified that McLaughlin suffered permanent psychological harm as a result of the bullying.McLaughlin’s mother, Mary McLaughlin, said her son had paranoid schizophrenia.”Jason, I can’t imagine the pure hell you were going through in school,” she said. “We love you very much and we always will.”McLauglin was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole after 30 years for the first-degree conviction, and 12 years with the possibility of parole after eight for the second-degree conviction.The sentences will be served consecutively. McLaughlin gets two years credit for time served.Vail – Colorado
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