Kinkel Pleads Guilty to Murder
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) _ Kip Kinkel abandoned an insanity defense and pleaded guilty today to murdering his parents at home and then killing two classmates in a shooting rampage at Springfield’s Thurston High School.
Kinkel’s plea to four counts of murder and 25 counts of attempted murder came just three days before a trial that offered a chance to get inside the mind of a school shooter and offer some explanation to the baffling string of similar sprees across the nation.
The 17-year-old could get a life sentence when Circuit Judge Jack Mattison sentences him for the May 1998 attack. He told investigators after his arrest that he had ``no choice″ but to kill after shaming his parents by getting expelled from school.
Because he was just 15 at the time, Kinkel never faced the death penalty. His attorneys had hoped to spare him life in prison by proving he was insane, or at least disturbed to the point that he was not fully in control of his actions.
If they had succeeded, Kinkel would have been confined to a mental hospital until he was no longer a danger to society.
Survivors of the shooting and victims’ family members were called last night by prosecutors and told to be in court today for a plea.