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Teen pleads guilty to Colorado high school shooting

Feb. 8 (UPI) -- A 16-year-old male pleaded guilty to charges related to a shooting at a Colorado high school that killed one student last year.

Alec McKinney pleaded guilty Friday to more than a dozen charges, the most serious being first-degree murder. Prosecutors said McKinney planned the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch, which killed 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo on May 7.

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McKinney told investigators he and co-conspirator Devon Erickson, 18, planned the shooting because they wanted fellow students to "experience bad things" and "have to suffer from trauma like he has had to in his life."

McKinney told police he was bullied in school because he's transgender. He said he targeted people who "made fun of him" and called him names. McKinney's legal name on court documents is Maya McKinney.

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Police said he told them he felt suicidal and homicidal since he was 12.

They said McKinney and Erickson both fired guns they got from a locked cabinet in the latter's home. In addition to killing Castillo, the shooting injured eight students, including two shot by a school security officer who believed they were the shooters.

In addition to the murder charge, McKinney pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree murder after deliberation; six counts of attempted murder after deliberation; attempted murder extreme indifference; second-degree assault; conspiracy to commit arson; conspiracy to commit burglary; conspiracy to commit criminal mischief; possession of a weapon on school grounds; possession of a handgun by a juvenile; and two crime-of-violence sentence enhancers.

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He faces up to life in prison plus 407.5 years.

Erickson pleaded not guilty to the same charges Jan. 2, saying McKinney forced him to carry out the shooting.

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