August 7, 2013
Accused school shooter Bryan Oliver will be tried as an adult after his attorney’s motion Wednesday for a fitness hearing was denied.
Deputy Public Defender Paul Cadman argued that Oliver was only 16 at the time of the Jan. 10 shooting at Taft Union High School, and should have been given a fitness hearing before being charged as an adult. Cadman said juveniles can only be directly charged as adults in cases of murder and certain sex crimes.
But in overruling the motion, Kern County Superior Court Judge H.A. “Skip” Staley noted there was another section of law listing numerous offenses - including attempted murder - with which juveniles can be charged.
Oliver has pleaded not guilty to two counts of attempted murder and three counts of assault with a gun on a person. He’s being held on $1.5 million bail.
Cadman said afterward that during Oliver’s stay in Juvenile Hall, the teen has lost a lot of weight and is not being properly educated.
"It’s terrible," Cadman said of Oliver’s predicament.
The attorney has said Oliver was bullied every day at Taft High. According to testimony from Oliver’s preliminary hearing, the teen told a school official he “snapped” as a result of the constant bullying.
Authorities have said Oliver entered a classroom and opened fire with a shotgun, seriously injuring student Bowe Cleveland. He fired at but missed another student, Jacob Nichols, and shotgun pellets grazed teacher Ryan Heber.
Heber and campus supervisor Kim Fields convinced Oliver to put the gun down.
A request to photograph Oliver was denied before the hearing. Staley said there were previous photographs of the defendant and he didn’t want additional images damaging Oliver’s chances of receiving a fair trial.
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