Sentencing begins for Arlington teen who pleaded guilty in Lamar High School shooting
A 16-year-old who pleaded guilty to shooting two fellow students at Lamar High School — killing one — begins the sentencing phase of his trial Tuesday.
The teen, then 15, admitted Thursday to shooting 16-year-old Ja'Shawn Poirier and a female student on the steps of Lamar High School on March 20. Poirier later died at the hospital while the girl — who was grazed on the cheek by shrapnel — survived.
KERA News is not naming the alleged shooter because he is a minor being sentenced as a juvenile. The teen faces up to 40 years in prison on the capital murder charge. He also pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted capital murder.
The teen's attorney Lisa Herrick confirmed he pleaded "true" to the charges against him Thursday. The role of the jury now is to decide on a sentence.
Tarrant County Judge Alex Kim and attorneys questioned 97 potential jurors Monday. Questions included potential jurors' familiarity with the school shooting based on news reports, feelings about the juvenile justice system and whether they'd consider the full range of punishment.
"All we can ask you to do is sit here now without knowing any of these facts, without knowing anything," said Lloyd Whelchel, a prosecutor with the Tarrant County District Attorney's office. "We want you to at least be open-minded and consider the full range. Because that's what justice requires you to do."
Prosecutors said at a June hearing the teen told doctors he saw two people who looked like students who had sexually assaulted him in a school bathroom in 2022. That's when he opened fire outside the school, prosecutors said.
Jury selection was rescheduled last month after Tarrant County Judge Alex Kim ordered a psychiatric evaluation for the alleged shooter. NBC DFW reported he was deemed competent to stand trial at a hearing Sept. 11.
The teen's father, 50-year-old John Porter, was sentenced to 77 months in federal prison earlier this month for possessing firearms as a felon, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas.
Federal prosecutors say Porter admitted to owning the shotgun found at the scene of the school shooting, which investigators found paperwork for during a search of Porter's home.
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