Charging 15-year-olds as adults common in Oregon
Suspect could face automatic life sentence
May 21, 1998
Web posted at: 6:18 p.m. EDT (2218 GMT)
(CNN) -- The intention of law enforcement authorities to
charge Kip Kinkel, the 15-year-old suspect in Thursday's
Springfield, Oregon, school shooting, as an adult is not
unusual, sources say.
Oregonians as young as 14 have been tried as adults, and
faced much stiffer sentences than they would as a juvenile,
the sources explain.
Oregon law stipulates that if someone is convicted of
aggravated first-degree murder -- the likely charge in
Kinkel's case -- the person faces an automatic sentence of
life in prison without parole.
While the convict could not receive the death penalty, the
automatic sentence means spending a minimum of 300 months in
If Kinkel were charged as a juvenile, it's likely he would be
released in a few years.
When District Attorney Doug Harper was asked how Kinkel would
be charged, Harper replied, "He will be charged as an adult."
Responding to another question, Harper said, "As a
15-year-old, the death penalty is not available in Oregon."
Correspondent Greta van Susteren contributed to this report.