Court to discuss school shooter's case behind closed doors in September

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Photo: Elmo Riig / Sakala

Tartu county court is to discuss behind closed doors on Sept. 18 the case of the student who shot and killed his teacher in the South Estonian town of Viljandi last fall.

At the beginning of the preliminary hearing the defendant's defense attorney Mihkel Gaver requested the preliminary hearing as well as the court proceeding which is to launch on Sept. 18 to be held behind closed doors. Chief prosecutor of the South district prosecutor's office Kaire Hanilene found that the request should be satisfied partially and the court hearing should be closed when it comes to disclosing information about the defendant's medical state. Representative of the injured parties Margo Normann found that the part of the proceeding where the civil action is to be discussed should be closed.

The court satisfied the defender's request and announced that the whole court proceeding will take place behind closed doors in the interests of the defendant who is a minor as well as to protect the private lives of the injured parties.

The hearing will take place under general procedure. The court is to provide additional information regarding further dates and the announcing of the verdict before the trial starts in September.

The defendant did not take part in the preliminary hearing.

According to charges the boy on Oct. 27 took the key of the weapons safe that was hidden in his parents' bedroom, opened the safe with it, and secretly took from it his father's Amadeo ROSSI-851 revolver and nine cartridges. He took the gun and cartridges to school that day. At around 2 p.m. he shot his German teacher, Ene Sarap, 56, several times as a result of which she died.

Pretrial procedure determined that the student fired six shots at the teacher, three of which hit the teacher. «Collected evidence confirmed that the owner of the gun stored the firearm and ammunition as required. Due to that there is no reason to bring charges against the gun owner,» chief prosecutor Kaire Hanilene who headed the pretrial procedure said.

The student was taken into pre-trial custody on Jan. 6.

The prosecutor's office is accusing the 15-year-old of manslaughter as well as illegal use of a firearm and cartridges. According to the Penal Code the boy could be facing up to 10 years in prison since he is a minor.