The 17-year-old student accused of shooting classmates and faculty at Santa Fe High School was indicted by a Texas grand jury on Aug. 9. In the indictment, the teenager was charged with capital murder, a crime that carries an automatic life sentence under Texas law. The charges also included aggravated assault of a public servant which he received for allegedly shooting and wounding a police officer. The Santa Fe High School shooting in May was the deadliest mass murder in the U.S. since the Parkland shooting in Florida in February.
Investigators claim that the suspect has already admitted to the killing of eight students and two teachers at the Houston-area school. The teen allegedly burst into the art classroom armed with his father’s shotgun and pistol. Witnesses say that shooting went on for at least 10 to 15 minutes, and officers report engaging in an extended gunfight with the suspect until he surrendered. Police state that the teen intended to kill himself but gave up instead.
The suspect in the Texas school shooting is being held at Galveston County Jail. A judge ordered a mental evaluation of the teen, but the results will remain confidential. The trial date has yet to be set. Grand juries have 90 days from the date of detention to decide whether or not to indict suspects. In this case, it took the grand jury a month to reach their decision.
Homicide charges can result in life imprisonment if a conviction is obtained. In many cases, defense counsel might choose to pursue an agreement with the prosecutor that reduces the penalties in exchange for a guilty plea.