... This is clearly the most violent crime in Lane County history. Nothing
else comes close. ... Beyond Lane County, this clearly ranks as one of the
most violent crimes that has ever been committed in the United States. Kip
Kinkel ranks with some of the most notorious criminals in our history, names
like Ted Bundy, Timothy McVeigh, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy. His
motivation may well have been different than that of the criminals whose names
that I have just read. The situations may have been different. But the
crimes are very similar in so many ways.
|Assistant District Attorney Kent Mortimore presented the state's recommendation
that Kip Kinkel receive the maximum sentence, 220 years. In his presentation,
he refuted the defense's claim that Kip was mentally ill, characterizing Kip as
"a very nasty, violent, easy-to-frustrate and easy-to-anger boy" and comparing
him to notorious murderers Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy.|
And what I mean is that all of these killers did things which are so shocking
that we can't even understand them. And all of these killers did things that
were brutal and vicious and cruel beyond words. Our response as a community,
when we hear about these things, is to say, "He must be crazy." Because
that's the only thing that's plausible as we try to answer that question,
It's puzzling that we've spent so much of the last several days dealing with
what really is the defendant's mental defense to these crimes. It's very
disingenuous of him to come into court now and say that he isn't responsible
for what he did. ... We need to remember that he specifically disclaimed legal
insanity, and I quote: "By entry of pleas of guilty to these charges, I
expressly and knowingly waive the defenses of mental disease or defect,
extreme emotional disturbance, or diminished capacity." That quote is from
page four of the Plea Petition. He initialed that paragraph ... it was an
admission of guilt. And it's likely that his lawyers understand better than
the experts that he hired that this defense would not have succeeded at trial.
Of course the reason is that his acts were volitional. He was able to make
conscious choices. He was able to choose his conduct. Those choices were
wrong. Those choices were criminal. But because they were his choices, he
doesn't meet the definition of legal insanity.
And it's worth noting what he did that resulted in choices. Almost everything
that occurred the 20th and 21st of May last year was calculated, required
careful consideration, and required careful planning on the part of Kip
Kinkel. This is very unusual and very unlikely to be legal insanity.
In cases involving that true condition, one would expect lashing out at people
perceived to be aliens, or more specifically, lashing out at people that he
perceived to be threatening to him. One would expect to have seen his victims
be part of his delusions. And yet that wasn't true. ...
Here's what I mean. He waited for his father to get off the phone with Kevin
Rowan before he shot him. That was a volitional act. He chose the .22
rather than the Glock to shoot his father, presumably because it was quieter.
Another volitional act.
He selected -- he chose the proper ammunition, and either loaded it or
confirmed that it was loaded before he shot his father. Another volitional
He shot his father in the location on his father's head that he knew would be
fatal. Another volitional act.
He shot his father from behind. He snuck up behind him. Another volitional
act. And then he locked his father in the bathroom after dragging his body
out of view and cleaning the counter to the point that it took Luminol for
the detectives to discover where the crime scene had been. Numerous volitional
And he got ready to go to Thurston High School by changing the stock on his
rifle to make it more concealable. ... He chose a trench coat to conceal the
weapons. ... He prepared by taping a knife to his leg, taping bullets to his
chest. He located the proper car keys and matched them to the proper car, and
he drove the long distance to Thurston High School. All volitional acts.
He parked his car in a location to avoid detection and to enable him to escape
after he had finished committing these crimes. Another volitional act. He
warned off his friends, but shot others, in the breezeway.
And he waited until exactly 8:00 o'clock to maximize the number of targets in
the cafeteria at Thurston High School. He chose the most accurate weapon he
had available to him to do what he did, and he deliberately shot his victims at
The defendant's reaction apparently is to say that paranoid people frequently
plan well and their cognitive functions aren't altered by their disease.
Cognition, if you look in the dictionary, means the act or facility of
knowing. So his experts say that he knew what he was doing, but he couldn't
stop himself, at least according to his doctors. But that explanation doesn't
make a bit of sense in light of all of the planning that went in to this
All of the planning that occurred before the voices started telling him to
kill on May 20th, all of the planning came before what he would have the court
believe was this emotional incident that triggered his paranoia.
And what I mean by that is all of the threats that he made to people that he
was going to do this. ... What we know is what Kip Kinkel told people in the
weeks and months leading up to his crimes.
He told Jesse Cannon -- and I would note that all these statements are to
students. Not to adults, but to students. He told Jesse Cannon he wanted to
shoot people. He told Christopher Caven, quote, "Sometimes I get so mad I
just want to go to school and blow people away."
He told Nicholas Clough numerous times he wanted to shoot people and blow
things up. He told Lacy Cunningham he wished he could wipe from the face of
the earth all of the freaks.
He told Cheyenne Houghton, who is a person with green hair, that he was going
to kill him because he annoyed him. He wrote in his Spanish book, quote, "I
will hunt you down and put a hole in your head with explosives. You must
die." He also wrote in the Spanish book, "I will kill you with explosives.
Have a nice day."
He told Cory Dixon that the Jonesboro shootings were funny. ...
He asked David Farris, quote, "What if I brought a gun to school and started
He joked in Michael Ford's presence about killing people.
He told his friend Destry Saul that he wanted to shoot students in the
cafeteria or at a pep assembly and that he might put a bomb under the
bleachers at a pep assembly.
He told his friend Nick Hiassen he wanted to kill people and that he was going
to blow up the school. ...
He told Gavin Keable that Jonesboro was cool, and quote, "Somebody should do
that around here." ...
Two weeks before these shootings he told his friend Brandon Muniz that he
wanted to lock the doors except for one, put a bomb in the cafeteria, and then
pick people off one by one after the bomb exploded and they tried to escape.
This was two weeks before this occurred on the 21st of May. He also told
Brandon that the shooters in Jonesboro had it wrong, and he offered his advice
on how the attack could be made more lethal. ...
This crime was going to happen anyway. He had planned it. He had decided to
do it. And interestingly enough, in the presentence report, Mr. Spears, the
presentence writer, asks him a hypothetical question. He asks him, "If I
would have asked you one week before May 21st if these things could have
happened, what would you tell me?"
Kip Kinkel's answer? "Yes."
I would submit to the court that only his timing was driven by his expulsion on
May 20th. He planned these crimes and intended to do them all along.
The defendant's experts have done a masterful job of describing why Kip Kinkel
should die in prison. The experts paint a picture of a defendant who is
brutally dangerous and positively twisted.
We have spent tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars studying Kip
Kinkel. The list of doctors includes Dr. Hicks, Dr. McDonald, Dr. Bolstad,
Dr. Sack, Dr. Lewis, Dr. Konkol, Dr. Stevens, Dr. Amen, Dr. Sheldon, Dr.
Erdberg, Dr. Pincus, Richard Sherman, Dr. Cohn, and probably others that
weren't disclosed to the state.
The net result of all of that time and all of those doctors is that there is
no unanimity of diagnosis. In a number of cases the diagnoses contradict
each other. Nobody is willing to predict to a reasonable medical certainty
that they can cure him. Really, all we know right now, after hearing all of
this evidence and conducting all of this study, is that there is something
really wrong with Kip Kinkel. ...
In essence, what we're told by all of the doctors is that with a hope and a
prayer, he might be okay, maybe, as long as we can figure out exactly what's
wrong with him and we can carefully control his environment and make sure he's
taking his medication.
Our community is not willing to take that risk. And our community shouldn't
be expected to take that risk. ...
Here is the essence of Kip Kinkel. Let's ignore the labels. From a very
early age, Kip Kinkel was a very nasty, violent, easy-to-frustrate and
easy-to-anger boy. This was his essence long before any so-called mental
We know from Sherrie Warthen that he nailed kids in the face with a dodgeball,
and we heard a similar rendition of that from Amber Ramsey this afternoon when
she addressed the court as a victim.
He didn't understand that it was wrong to cut things in his desk with a knife.
He teased kids he considered losers, particularly fat people, and made nasty
comments like, quote, "If we could just get the fat people out of the way."
According to Dick Bonard, he would be aggressive, punched kids, put them in
headlocks and wrestle them to the ground. And if the court has had an
opportunity to read his writings, the court knows the central theme in his
diary: "Hate drives me." ...
That's the essence of Kip Kinkel. And he's been that way since -- as long as
we know. At least since he was about six years old. Long before any symptoms
of so-called mental illness set in. We also know that he's been incredibly
good at manipulating people, particularly adults. He is so smart, he's close
to brilliant in many areas.
And he was very, very good, incredibly good at conforming his behavior when he
knew what was needed. For instance, Dr. Eric Johnson has told me a number of
times what a nice person Kip Kinkel was in the interviews that he had with
him. Because Kip Kinkel knew that he needed to make Eric Johnson, the
psychologist, think that. And he did behave pretty well around teachers most
of the time, to the point that some of them didn't know what a beast he was
when he was on the playground, out of their watchful eye. He's been a model
inmate at the jail. And most of this time has been without medication. He
didn't act out in football. He didn't act out in karate. And he didn't act
out at Thanksgiving in 1997 at the height of his depressive episode. And
isn't it interesting that he was able to recognize that those are situations
where he can't act out, and he controls his behavior.
But we also know that the essence of Kip Kinkel is that he has always had a
hard time dealing with stress and criticism. Sandy Farber described him in
third grade. He would get red in the face, tense, and pound on his desk when
he was frustrated, frustrated for whatever reason, even if it was his own
failings. His reactions since third grade had become increasingly severe, more
and more as he has gotten older. And these crimes were a continuation of
this. All of this behavior existed long before there were any voices or
so-called mental illness.
It's worth noting that there's no corroboration that he heard voices. All we
have is his word. ...
There has been a lot of talk in the media and other places that this was a deal
where there was a wink and a nod and the state was going to stand here and
agree to a twenty-five year sentence. And I want to make it clear in this
courtroom that our position has been from the moment those negotiations began,
that our position was that the defendant should die in prison.
We, however, recognize that sometimes plea agreements need to be structured in
such a way to get before a sentencing judge and to avoid a trial, and this is
a case that fits that category very well. It has become very obvious to Ms.
Tracy and to me that this community didn't need a trial, that the victims
didn't need a trial, and that we needed to try to heal, and a trial would open
This plea agreement was a way to avoid that trial. It accomplished that. And
it should not be interpreted to mean that the state is locked into any
particular recommendation that would result in leniency for Kip Kinkel, because
nothing could be more wrong. ...
Our Department of Corrections, through the presentence investigator,
recommends a sentence of 220 years.
Our community, through every single victim -- except the defendant's sister --
recommends a sentence that Kip -- guarantees that Kip Kinkel will die in
prison. And the people of the State of Oregon, through the Lane County
District Attorney, recommend a sentence of 220 years. Kip Kinkel must die in
prison. He must never be allowed to walk free. ... Hate does not drive us.
Justice drives us. And justice requires a maximum sentence.