A 15-year-old girl pleaded guilty Wednesday to stabbing two fellow students at Snohomish High School under a plea deal in which she was sentenced to five years in juvenile detention, followed by 100 months in prison once she turns 21.
As part of the agreement, prosecutors lowered a first-degree attempted murder charge to a first-degree assault charge. She was also charged with second-degree assault.
The second-degree assault charge corresponds to the girl's five-year sentence under the custody of the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration. Prosecutors and the girl's defense attorneys agreed that time in juvenile detention would be beneficial because it presents more opportunities for therapy and rehabilitation.
The first-degree assault charge is what will land her in prison for 100 months (just over 8 years), beginning in April 2017. The girl turns 16 in early April, and will be transferred to prison in April 2017, five years after her 21st birthday.
The girl, who was a sophomore at the school at the time of the attack last Oct. 24, stabbed freshmen April Lutz and Bekah Staudacher. Lutz suffered life-threatening injuries and Staudacher suffered a large cut to her arm and was stabbed in the back.
April Lutz's mother, Sue, spoke in court about how devastating the attack has been for their family and for the community around them. Even more, she said, they have been terrified by comments made by the girl in the time after the attack.
"We feel that this agreement is a fair compromise," Sue and Randy Lutz said in a statement. "It allows this very troubled young girl to get the help she has clearly needed for some time while she is still a juvenile, but it also holds her accountable for her horrific actions."
The girl's attorney read a letter from her family in court stating that the girl who committed the stabbing was not the girl they knew and raised and they hoped that after treatment, she would once again resemble that person. The judge in the case sealed her psychological evaluation records in order to protect her privacy.
A surveillance video from inside the school on the day of the stabbings shows the two victims walking into the restroom (video attached). Moments later, the girl accused of stabbing them can be seen, wearing a hood, entering the restroom. Students hear the attack and gather outside. Then paramedics are shown removing one victim on a stretcher.
Before the trial, Snohomish County Prosecutor Cindy Larsen contended that the girl still harbored violent intentions to hurt others, including Lutz, and that she created a “bucket list” that described her wish to kill and eat others, blow up a school, bathe in blood and do drugs.
Had the girl been 16 when the crime had been committed, she would automatically have been tried as an adult.
On Feb. 6, some of what appeared to be the girl's writings were turned in to detention staff. Staffers said the writings had reportedly been given to another inmate by the girl.
On Feb. 17, another inmate reported to staff that when they were with the girl, she spoke of her desire to stab and kill Lutz upon her release. She also told them she wanted to blow up a pre-school with children in it and drop acid and eat mushrooms.
At an earlier hearing, Larsen told the court that the girl's attack was vicious, premeditated and without provocation. Investigators said the girl randomly attacked Lutz and Staudacher while they were in the bathroom.
Larsen also pointed out to the court that the girl had been suspended from school April 19, 2011, after two students reported to staff the girl had become obsessed with them and threatened to kill one of their boyfriends.
After being admitted to Fairfax Hospital, the hospital then wrote a letter to the school at the end of April that said the girl was "safe to return to school and home," court documents said. The girl returned to school May 4, 2011.
School records also reveal that the girl had visited her school counselor and told her about "having some suicidal thoughts, thoughts of violence" and asked if that were "normal."
A teacher at the school reported the girl Sept. 14, 2011, for hitting and harassing another girl in a classroom. The girl, her mother, school counselor and assistant principal met on Sept. 22, 2011, to discuss the girl’s behavior. The attack occurred a month later.