MOUNTAIN VIEW, Utah — The teen boy charged with stabbing five students at Mountain View High School will face one of the attempted murder charges in the adult court system, and he could be sent to prison.
He admitted to the violent crime in juvenile court Tuesday afternoon.
The victims and their families took the podium during the hearing, some speaking directly to the teen in tears.
“There was, at least to some extent, some healing going on here,” said Sam Pead, Utah County Deputy Attorney.
Nearly each person recounted what unfolded back in November when the teen launched a rampage in the boy’s locker room at the high school.
The 16-year old, who Fox 13 is not identifying because of his age, stabbed his classmates in the neck with knives.
For at least a couple of the boys, it nearly killed them.
“It`s hard to put into words when you see a case of this kind of devastating violence,” Pead said.
The victims explained their physical and emotional pain.
One student said, "It just angers and confuses me why someone would do this."
Another teen, who still wears a sling because of nerve damage, said that while he was being stabbed, "I thought, 'This is the end.'"
He said at the hospital, when a doctor announced that he might deal with permanent nerve damage, the teen said, "I can live with that as long as I have my life."
Later, he said he tried to see where the suspect was coming from, and realized the suspect is human and makes mistakes just like everyone else.
"I came to realize he wasn't his best self and was having a really hard time, and was desperate," the victim said.
He followed that by saying he wants the suspect to move back up and be able to gain the trust of the community again.
“The way that they approached this case-- the compassion and patience and understanding-- is just something to behold,” Pead said, speaking about the testimony given by the victims.
Parents also spoke, with one saying that his son—who didn’t attend the hearing—wrote in a letter, "I can forgive you, but I cannot trust you."
The father said his son just wants to put this behind him.
"I hope this does not define who you are,” the father said, addressing the suspect directly. “I encourage you to change what legacy you have created, and create a new one."
The mother of the same victim gave tearful comment next.
"We do forgive you," she said. “We've never blamed your parents or family. We don't understand the situation or what made you do those things that day."
The 16-year old signed a deal with attorneys, in which he admitted to four counts of aggravated attempted homicide in juvenile court.
For that, a judge ordered him to the Juvenile Justice System for an indeterminate amount of time.
Pead said the suspect could potentially be in juvenile detention until he is 21, depending on how treatment comes along.
In exchange for the admittance to the counts of aggravated attempted homicide, the court dropped two other charges.
As part of the agreement, a fifth charge of aggravated attempted homicide with serious bodily injury will transfer to adult district court.
The teen will plead guilty. A charge like that can carry anywhere from six years to life in prison, Pead said.
“We think our outcome here balances his ability to find a path of redemption, with the need for punishment and deterrence,” he said.
While the suspect hardly spoke at Tuesday’s hearing, his parents stood and choked up while giving an apology.
The teen’s father said they wish to express profound sorrow and deep gratitude.
Sorrow for the suffering of the five boys injured, and gratitude for the compassion shown to them, the father explained.
He said the significant mental illness in their son surprised them. The father said he has hope their son will be able to manage his
mental illness and never hurt others again.
“Our son is deeply sorry for the pain and suffering he caused others,” the father said, adding, “We are grateful he will get the help he needs.”