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Ark. Boy Convicted of Shooting Cop

July 26, 2000

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ A juvenile court judge on Tuesday convicted a 12-year-old boy of shooting a police officer who caught the youth heading toward his school with a shotgun.

Michael Nichols was charged with attempted murder for the May 11 shooting in a hayfield north of Prairie Grove Junior High School. Judge Stacey Zimmerman ordered Nichols held until his Aug. 22 sentencing.

``Based on circumstantial evidence, Mr. Nichols knew what he was doing,″ Zimmerman said.

The judge also ordered Nichols to meet with a psychiatrist before she pronounces sentence.

Defense attorney Kent McLemore unsuccessfully argued that Nichols should be found guilty of second-degree battery, which is recklessly causing serious injury with a deadly weapon.

``This is not a bad apple who didn’t know right from wrong. He’s a sweet little kid who was out of his mind,″ he said.

But the judge said an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling kept her from considering an insanity defense, an issue that was raised earlier in the day.

Prairie Grove police officer Greg Lovett was pelted with birdshot in the face, neck, shoulders, rib cage, lower back and buttocks after confronting Michael after the boy had left school. Witnesses reported seeing a boy walking along a rural road during school hours.

Lovett returned Michael’s fire, striking the boy in the abdomen. He applied first aid to Michael, who was hospitalized several days before being arrested.

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