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Judge Denies Request For New Trial For Kip Kinkel

Kip Kinkel will not get a new trial, under a decision issued late Tuesday by a judge in Marion County.  Attorneys for the convicted school shooter argued Kinkel was not mentally competent to plead guilty in 1999.  But Judge Joseph Guimond said he saw no evidence of that.  Colin Fogarty reports.

Kinkel was 15 years old when he shot his parents in Springfield in 1998.  The next day, he opened fire on students at the Thurston high school cafeteria, killing two students.

A year later, Kinkel plead guilty to four counts of aggravated murder.  A judge sentenced him to a 112-year prison sentence.  But last month, his attorneys argued in court that Kinkel heard voices in court at the time of his guilty plea.

Psychologists testified Kinkel had an irrational fear of court.  His attorneys said rather than prison, he should have been sent to a mental hospital.

Now, Judge Joseph Guimond has ruled that Kinkel's attorneys offered only “theories”, and he saw “no indications whatsoever that [Kinkel] was unable to aid and assist [his attorneys] and fully participate in the entry of his guilty pleas.”

His attorney Larry Matasar said he's disappointed in the ruling.

Larry Matasar: "He was denied his medication for the three months before his pleas.  We think we have a factual record and we think we have law that supports the idea that he should get a new trial.  He was extremely sick in the several months leading up to his plea."

But the decision is a victory for Attorney General Hardy Myers, whose office defended the guilty plea.

Hardy Myers: "We think it was a case that was prompted really by his desire to get a reduced sentence.  He got a longer sentence than he expected.  And I think the main significance of the decision is that you don't get do overs in the Oregon judicial system."

Kinkel began serving his sentence at a juvenile detention center. He is 24 years old now, and serving his sentence at an adult state prison in Salem.

Matasar says he plans to appeal Kinkel's case all the way to the Oregon Supreme Court if necessary.

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