Two fifth-graders at the center of a murder trial in Washington state will stand trial as juveniles, a prosecutor has confirmed on Friday.
The pair of young children have been accused of plotting to rape and kill a girl, and to kill or harm six other classmates.
Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen has confirmed that the boys are aged just 11 and 10 years old, and that they have pleaded not guilty to charges at an arraignment on Friday. The alleged murder-rape plot also targeted other children in Colville, Washington, about 215 miles east of Seattle, according to Reuters.
Authorities have claimed that one of the boys had said he wanted to kill one girl because "she's rude and always made fun of me and my friends."
The prosecutor has said, "There are very few prosecutions of a crime of this magnitude with boys of this age," according to Reuters.
He also confirmed that Judge Allen Nielson determined during the hearing that the boys were able to determine what was right and what was wrong, even though under state law children aged between 8 and 12 are presumed not to have the mental capacity to form an intention to commit a crime.
Reports have stated that juvenile court is typically reserved for defendants between ages 12 and 18, but in this case it has been thought applicable.
The state prosecutor has confirmed that the 10 year old has been charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, juvenile firearm possession and witness tampering.
Meanwhile, the 11-year-old was charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, possession of a dangerous weapon, a knife, at school and tampering with a witness, the prosecutor has told Reuters.
In the case, one of the boys' teachers had found a list of six classmates they were planning to target. In addition, the accused boys were planned to lure another girl away from her school in Colville, east Washington.
The boys reportedly boarded a school bus on Feb. 7 armed with a knife, a semi-automatic pistol and ammunition in their bags on their way to school. Another student reported to teachers that he had seen the children with a knife, and later one of the accused children said he would kill the informant, authorities have claimed.
Here is a video news report on the incident: