District Judge Freddie Romero ruled on Friday that 12-year-old Mason Campbell, the boy accused of shooting two classmates at Berrendo Middle School, is competent to assist with his defense and stand trial.
However, Campbell’s attorneys told the court neither they nor Campbell’s family want the matter to go to trial.
“The child understands the charges and we are working on a resolution,” said defense attorney Jason Bowles. The boy was represented on Friday by two attorneys — Bowles and attorney Robert Gorence, both of Albuquerque.
Police say Campbell, armed with a shotgun, opened fire at the middle school on Jan. 14, seriously wounding two students before a staff member persuaded him to put down the firearm.
Campbell has been charged with three counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and one count of bringing a firearm onto school property, said Chandler.
The shooting at Berrendo Middle School took place in a gym where students had gathered to stay warm from the frigid weather outside before the start of class. Wounded were 12-year-old Nathaniel Tavarez and 13-year-old Kendal Sanders. Both children are recovering from their wounds.
Special Prosecutor Matt Chandler agreed with the defense attorneys in asking the court to extend the mandatory 30-day period before a trial is required by an additional 60 days.
Chandler also asked the court to set aside a 10-day timeframe in case the matter does go to trial.
The court also decided to continue to incarcerate Campbell in Albuquerque for his own safety and due to overcrowding at the Chaves County Detention Center.
“The court recalls the last hearing we had on this matter, and we are concerned with what is in the best interest of the child,” Romero said.
In Albuquerque, Campbell can interact with other children and continue to see the psychiatrist he has already been seeing.
The court set Campbell’s next hearing date for 1 p.m. on April 29.
If there is to be a trial, it will take place in late June, but Bowles said he hopes the attorneys will be able to come to an agreeable disposition of the case without a trial.
Campbell will be tried as a juvenile in connection with the shooting. He was not charged as an adult because of his age, in accordance with New Mexico law.
No one under age 14 in the state can face adult sanctions, authorities said.[/auth]