Freeman Shooter Sentencing Day 3: Sharpe’s family speaks for the first time
SPOKANE, Wash. – Freeman school shooter Caleb Sharpe’s family on Tuesday spoke for the first time since the 2017 deadly shooting.
Tuesday was the third day of Sharpe’s sentencing hearings.
Catch up on what’s happened so far
On the first day of the hearings, the defense argued that Sharpe is maturing and already taking responsibility for his actions.
The defense is seeking a 20-year sentence, claiming Sharpe was depressed and suffered from mental health issues at the time of the shooting.
The prosecution is seeking at least 35 years, arguing that Sharpe was just a “typical teenage boy” and that his mental health did not make him choose to shoot up the school.
On the second day of the hearings, Dr. Craig Beaver testified that Sharpe has a low risk of recommitting another violent crime in the future. The licensed psychologist said Sharpe did not have the same level of brain connectivity as his peers at the time of the shooting and that he had a split in his development.
READ: Freeman Shooter Sentencing Day 2: Doctor says Sharpe has low risk of recommitting violent crime
Day 3 Recap:
Dr. Beaver once again took the stand at the start of day three. He said the mother of Sam Strahan, the 15-year-old Sharpe killed, whispered the word “shame” in his direction.
The prosecution expressed concern over this, saying it is grounds for an appeal.
Ami Strahan declined to testify about the doctor’s testimony and Sharpe’s defense said hallway chatter has been negative toward Sharpe’s family.
“I’m saddened this had to take place. The courtroom is supposed to be a safe space,” said Judge Michael Price, adding that this can cause a higher court to appeal his ruling, causing further delays.
The Sharpe family’s pastor also went before the court Tuesday, reading 15 statements on behalf of Sharpe’s family and family friends.
“What he did was absolutely wrong. I was appalled,” said someone who knew the Sharpe family for more than 35 years.
“When I think of my cousin, I don’t think of someone who’s evil,” wrote Sharpe’s cousin.
Many of those speaking in support of Sharpe said they could not believe he could do such a thing. Instead, they described him as a “fun, outgoing” boy. Many said they were sickened by his actions and disgusted that the court process has taken so long.
Sharpe’s grandma also wrote to the court, saying her “heart broke into so many pieces” when she found out he had been the shooter.
Many said that while they do not think Sharpe fully comprehended what he did that day, he still needs to be held accountable.
“In all respects, they were a normal family, not perfect but no one is,” said someone writing on behalf of Sharpe’s parents.
They are now asking Judge Price to take Sharpe’s age at the time into consideration when sentencing him.
“Things will never change what happened that day,” they said. “Students make mistakes, sometimes fatal ones.”
Sharpe’s uncle, Art, was one of the last to speak, getting choked up when providing testimony of what his nephew did.
He said it was an “outside force that made Sharpe do what he did.”
“Caleb Sharpe is not a murderous monster,” Art Sharpe added.
Many said Sharpe is taking full responsibility for his actions, noting that he showed remorse by pleading guilty to his charges.
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