HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. — In court Wednesday, a judge ruled the now-18-year-old who shot two people at Noblesville West Middle School in 2018 when he was 13 will be released to his parents.
FOX59 is not naming the shooter because he has only been charged as a juvenile.
The decision comes on the last day the state could hold the shooter in juvenile custody. Now, at 18 years old, the shooter’s time in juvenile custody was only extended by a March incident at the juvenile facility that resulted in the shooter being charged with battery.
”I felt like there weren’t many legal options for the court and, frankly, I think it pushed them into doing what was appropriate under juvenile law,” said attorney Benjamin Jaffe, who represents the shooter.
The job Judge Michael Casati had Wednesday was to decide where the shooter would go as he left juvenile custody. The options were his parents’ house or a residential placement facility. The problem? No placement facilities agreed to take the shooter.
A probation officer at the hearing said the probation office had applied to three placement facilities it had determined fit the shooter, but he was not accepted to any.
“Mostly just nobody wants to roll with it, they don’t want to worry about what’s next,” said Hamilton County Prosecutor Greg Garrison. “He’s a wildcard. This happened six years ago and they don’t know what today looks like.”
The state did request, and get approved, for several stipulations to be put on the shooter’s release, though.
Judge Casati decided the shooter will be on GPS and electronic monitoring, have limited internet access, no firearms, a curfew, no contact with the victims and is not allowed to be on any school property.
His parents’ home also had to be searched before he could be released to them.
”What I’ve talked to him about, everything you do is going to be under a microscope, the assumption is always going to be the worst assumption,” said Jaffe.
In an August 14 filing, the judge ruled the shooter is still a risk to the community. Garrison agrees.
”There’s no question about that, and we would be fools to think otherwise,” Garrison said.
Jaffe said he believes his client is remorseful for the 2018 shooting.
”I believe he is entirely regretful of his actions,” Jaffe said. “Again, I think he was in an incredibly unhealthy place.”
He added he now believes his client is in a much healthier place and will only improve.
“I think he’s grown considerably,” Jaffe said. “I think, frankly, him being outside of a correctional setting and in a more therapeutic healthy setting is going to do even more to assist.”
There will be another hearing on Dec. 19. The probation office will provide a progress update on the Noblesville West Middle School shooter then.