the killer at thurston high
Statements of the Victims

who is kinkel?
the sentencing
school shooters
placing blame

MARK WALKER  Kip killed Mark Walker's son, Ben Walker, 16 years old.

Good morning, your Honor. I apologize for restating the obvious, but I would like to say, Mr. Kinkel murdered four people and attempted to murder many others. He was selective and warned people he thought to be friends away from the school that morning. The account of my son's death as it was related to me indicated Mr. Kinkel walked past my son in the hall, turned, put his gun to the back of my son's head, and killed him. This was cold-blooded murder, not the random act of rage Mr. Kinkel would have us believe. His actions were callous, calculated, premeditated, and with no regard for human life. Benjamin was sixteen years old. He lost sixty to seventy years of his life, as did the Nickolauson boy. Teresa Miltonberger will spend the rest of her life missing part of her brain. The scars and the trauma suffered by the other young people who survived will be with them for the rest of their lives as well.

Mr. Kinkel's actions at Thurston were used as a benchmark for other young men in Colorado that murdered their classmates. Just a short time ago four young men in Cleveland were arrested for planning a school shooting. Their friends said they thought it was cool. The school authorities and school administrators are doing their best to prevent school shootings. The sentence you are about to render will send a message to other young people whether they can expect leniency from the law or that they will be held accountable for their actions. I can only plead with you to sentence Mr. Kinkel to a term that will keep him in prison for the rest of his natural life. The law provides for this length of sentence to be imposed, not only to protect us from Mr. Kinkel, but also to serve as a deterrent to someone else considering similar actions. If Mr. Kinkel is sitting in prison without possibility of release for the rest of his life, it might -- just might -- keep some other young person from taking a gun to school. That would be the only positive thing that could come from this tragedy. Thank you, your Honor.

MICHAEL NICKOLAUSON Kip killed Michael Nickolauson's son, Mikael, 17 years old

There is always something very special about a first-born child. And Mikael was that for us. As all the joys of learning -- even when troubles become apparent that we go through as they age -- but the real joys come when you realize they are beginning to change from a child to an adult. Mikael was at that point in his life. He had found somebody he wished to marry and was making plans. And suddenly that was taken away from him, and from us, and the places in our hearts that had been filled with happiness, joy, expectations, left an empty hole filled with nothing but pain and agony, which will never go away. Kip has taken Mikael's life permanently. He has taken a lot of joy from our family permanently. And I feel he should be in jail permanently. ...

JENNIFER ALLDREDGE Kip shot Jennifer Alldredge in the hand and the chest.

Just in case you want to put a name and a face with count 9, I am Jennifer Alldredge and you tried to murder me.

I got to school early that day, because it was my boyfriend, Jake Ryker's birthday. I sat down at the middle front table with all of my friends and we were joking around and talking about a surprise party for Jake that his mom was throwing for him. Several minutes later, I looked up at the clock to see it was time to go to class. When I stood up to give Jake a hug, the cafeteria side door opened and you walked in. There were strange noises, like fireworks, and I thought you were campaigning for class elections like the rest of the popular group you hung out with.

Instead, I felt intense heat and pain hit and spasm through my hand. I watched blood splurt and pour out of my two fingers as my entire hand throbbed. Nauseated and scared I tried to scream, but you had shot me again, this time through my lung and blood gurgled out of my mouth. I fell and went in and out of consciousness. The whole time I had no idea that you had shot my boyfriend as well. I had no idea what events took place that day until several days later when I looked up at the TV when I was in ICU.

The paramedics deemed me a lost cause. Todd Ferguson, one of the emergency paramedics, stepped over me and saw that I was almost dead. It wasn't until I spit a lifesaver out of my mouth that he finally decided to take a chance on me. It hurt to breathe. My body felt heavy and constrictive. My hand throbbed and pulsated with blood everywhere. I could smell it, I could taste it and the memory of seeing it still haunts me. I felt so cold and I just wanted to go to sleep, but the paramedics wouldn't let me. A respirator breathed for me for two days and they removed it the third, after a few attempts to wean me off, but my lungs weren't strong enough and they would collapse again. My index and middle fingers are now fused in one place. I will have my hand deformed for the rest of my life.

In the summer, when I wear a bathing suit or a tank top, people gawk and ask questions about the scars from the bullet holes, 42 staples, 3 chest tubes, and hand scars. I feel as if I have done something to be ashamed of. As if I have done something to deserve to look the way I do. I had to alter the way I hold a pen and write; each day at school and work people look at me questioningly.

I want you to know that I am not falling for this poor little mentally sick rich boy. I don't buy that whole act of burying your head in the table. I'm not going to feel sorry for you or claim you were misunderstood. Do you know that everyone felt depressed and as if they were not seen for who they really are in middle school and their freshman year? I don't buy that excuse. Your parents loved you and supported you, offering to get you help for your depression. You were part of the popular group at school, you were on the football team, and had it made. You had the high school life many of your victims never got the chance to experience.

You made the rest of my high school life absolute hell. I became someone other kids avoided because I reminded them of you and the shooting. Other so-called friends tried to use me to get attention. I became this story and no longer a person. I became the object of people's pity, and that sickens me. My name became "victim" and everyone felt compelled to discuss every gory detail of the shooting and its aftermath with me. I felt alienated from everyone. Between therapy, meetings, doctor appointments, surgeries, and dealing with my own fear that you will one day try to hurt me again, I am so tired of having all of this run my life. I have had to continually deal with the consequences of what you have done. That, to me sounds as if it is a harsh punishment just for sitting in the cafeteria. The fact that you will spend at least 25 years in jail seems so inconsequential.

You killed the two people in your life who loved you unconditionally. Guess what? Mommy can't kiss it and make it better anymore, because you killed her. And not just shot her once, but six times maliciously. Daddy isn't able to bail you out of jail anymore. No one can hug you and tell you everything will be okay, because it won't. It won't ever be okay until Mike and Ben can walk and talk with their families again, it won't be okay until my friends' surgeries are done and the scars have miraculously erased. It won't ever be okay again until every memory, every fear, and every consequence becomes non-existent. And that won't happen unless you can go back in time.

I hate you. I hate what you have done. I hate what I have become because of you. I hate living in fear each day. I hate seeing my family falling apart. I hate hearing the sound of my mom cry at night. I hate how it has become so difficult just to go up to my dad and crawl in his lap and have him reassure me. I hate losing my high school friends because the strain of the shooting always seemed to come between us. I hate that I can't go back to Thurston to visit, without pausing and remembering that I almost died there. I hate that so much of my life for the past year and a half has been devoted to all of this. I hate how difficult it has been to move on and try to find a moment's peace from my anger. ...

I hope you spend the rest of your life in jail. You can't be cured. And if a medication was found to sedate you enough, I don't trust you to take it. You don't deserve to be out of jail. You don't deserve to have the same freedoms your victims have. ... I never want to worry about you hurting my friends and me ever again. I never want to send my kids off to school one day and worry if you have been released. I'm tired of being scared. I'm tired of letting you have that much power over me. You shouldn't ever be able to have that power again.

MICHAEL CROWLEY  During the shooting spree, Kip put his rifle to the forehead of Ryan Crowley and pulled the trigger. He was out of ammunition. Earlier, he has watched Kip shoot and kill his friend, Mikael Nickelauson. His father, Michael Crowley, addressed Judge Mattison.

Your Honor, you have heard from many of the victims. You've heard a lot of details of what happened that morning in the cafeteria. You have not heard from my son. He is a very outgoing person. He is very full of life and energy. Sometimes to the extreme. He's downstairs because he cannot come up here and talk. He cannot sit in the same room with Mr. Kinkel. After the shooting, my son told me what he could not tell you. He told me about sitting across from Mikael. He told me about hearing the shots, jumping down, grabbing the bench. He told me about watching Mikael grab his thigh where he had been shot. Looking into Mikael's face as it was in anguish and pain. He saw the gun go to the back of Mikael's head. He saw Kip pull the trigger. He described in detail -- this horrifies me to this day -- how Mikael's face changed as he died. My fifteen-year-old son witnessed that.

And if that weren't enough, Kip came around the table, put the gun to my son's forehead, and pulled the trigger. Kip, you're a bastard. You shot Ben, you shot Mikael, you shot Ryan Atteberry -- all in the back. But with my son, you put the gun to his forehead. He looked at you. They didn't know they were going to be shot; my son knew he was going to be shot and knew he was going to be killed. But you just pulled the trigger. When there were no bullets, you tried to reload. Your Honor, don't tell Kip that it didn't matter when he pointed the gun at Ryan's head and pulled the trigger. Don't tell Ryan it was no big deal, it doesn't matter, "you don't matter."

The effect that this has had on everyone is impossible to describe. The morning of the shooting, being in the group of parents, hearing name after name after name read off on the list -- when I got there, the rumor was there were four people shot. Standing in the group of parents in the church parking lot, hearing name after name after name, of all the people who had been shot, I can't describe the horror as each name was read. One of the last names read was Ryan Atteberry. It was not my son. It didn't matter. I about lost it at that moment. I couldn't go on. I can't explain to you the effects this has had on my family and my marriage. The stress of having to deal with these issues on the son, the husband and wife, are immense. ...

Don't tell my son that you don't care. He has had nightmares. Last year he missed most of school because he couldn't be there. This year he doesn't have to go to school till nine o'clock because he can't stand being there in the morning. He about to drop out, your Honor. Yesterday was his last day at school. He is very jumpy. He is very excitable. He can't stay still. Everything scares him. He's not the person he was a year before. Worse off, he can't share his feelings. Don't tell him that this is not punishable. Don't tell him that he doesn't count. Your Honor, the effects of Kip's actions on my son will last my whole son's life. Why should that affect my son for his whole life and only affect Kip for the next twenty-five years? Why should Kip's punishment be any less? Don't tell my son he doesn't matter. Don't tell these other children they don't matter. Kip, I'm a pacifist. I have endured many things without taking a blow back. But if the court allowed me, I would kick the shit out of you.

BETINA LYNN Kip shot Betina Lynn twice, once in her lower back and once in her ankle.

I originally had no intention of coming back here for this. I started college in September down at SOU. And I have since wanted to not come back here simply because I can't face those in this community anymore, because my sole identity is that of victim: I don't have a name, I don't have a personality. I don't have interests, I don't have freedom -- I'm just a victim of a Thurston shooting.

I was so very lucky because the first bullet didn't paralyze me. It entered less than half an inch to the left of my spine. The doctors told me if I had flinched, if I had sneezed, if I had done anything, it would have severed my spinal cord, and I would be in a wheelchair today. The one on my foot has caused permanent nerve damage. I feel some things; I don't feel others. The scar tissue is incredibly sensitive, and if you touch it, I am likely to react violently because it gives me such awful sensations. To this day it's not completely healed. The tendon in my foot is attached to the scar tissue. My doctors have not decided whether or not they want to do another surgery because of all the damage it would cause going in there and digging around again.

Emotionally, I didn't react for months. I can only assume I was in shock. I knew what had happened, and I understood what had happened, and I knew who had done it. But I didn't feel anything. I didn't feel anger, I didn't feel sadness, I didn't feel anything. I was just happy to be alive and that I could see my friends and even eat chocolate. And I could still walk, even though it took a few weeks before I was even able to do that. ... I have since become extremely strained in my relationship with my family and my brother and my mother. My mom and I used to be best friends. I could tell her anything, and she would tell me anything. She was always there for me. And after the shooting, because we had such different perspectives, we no longer are on the same wavelength, she being the parent who almost lost a child and me being a student in the cafeteria.

I saw so much that day that haunts me. I remember seeing Jesse in front of me, with blood all over his white shirt. I didn't know where he had been shot or the extent of his injuries. I saw Jennifer with blood all over her face and neck, and I assumed that she was already dead. I saw a body behind me on the other side of the table, and I didn't know who it was, all I knew is that people were hysterical about it. And I found out later it was Teresa. And I saw [Christina] screaming on my other side. And then I watched Jake, with blood all over his shirt, tackle Kip. And then five or six people dogpile him.

Today, I shouldn't even be here because my school work is suffering so badly. ... I started having flashbacks again. I started thinking about my own injuries. My own emotional well-being. I thought about the five months I spent going to doctors every week because I had an infection in my foot because the bullet blew pieces of my sock and shoe into my foot. I thought about the surgeries I had, the IV needles that hurt so badly when you took them out. The blood getting drawn. The vaccinations to make sure I didn't have any blood diseases. I started thinking about what I would say if I came to the sentencing hearing. And I really didn't know. I started writing things weeks ago, but I didn't have anything concrete. I still don't. It's like a jumble of ideas and thoughts and feelings. I wanted you, Kip, to know a couple of things about my present life. My relationships with people around me are very weird. I have lost so many friends, not because we fought, but because they don't know how to interact with me anymore. They don't know what to say. ...

As far as you are concerned, I still don't know how I feel. I think that you should go away for a really, really, really long time. I don't think that it's possible for you to be rehabilitated in this society. I wish that weren't the case. I wish that we could go back in time. I remember watching you in Spanish class, thinking that you were really kind of cool, and that I would like to get to know you better. You seemed to have a good sense of humor, and you seemed to be a nice guy. You had a quirky little smile. And I just wish that I could go back to that. ... There are so many things that I wish I could say, and that I could, but I don't feel like I have the emotional energy to do it. I don't have energy to be angry at you. I don't have the energy to hate you. And I don't really hate you. I think that once upon a time you were really neat, and I'm sorry that you lost that. I'm sorry that you don't have your parents. ... And I'm sorry that your sister doesn't have her parents anymore. I'm glad for you that she stood by you and she continues to visit you and to support you, because I think you need that and deserve that, because you are still human. ...

I just wish things could have happened differently. I wanted to be successful in college. I have all these dreams of what I want to do, and right now, they're being slowly destroyed, because I can't handle reality. I can't handle large groups of people. I can't handle the Fourth of July. I can't handle it when a car backfires, and I can't handle it when a door slams. I can't handle it when people come up behind me and don't tell me they're there, and I turn around and find them there -- I just practically jump out of my skin. I have little to no sense of safety in my life anymore. And there are so many things that I have had to give up because I can't tolerate them in my life anymore. I wish I knew what to say to make you understand how deeply this has impacted my life. I've gone through so much therapy, and I feel like I haven't made any headway with it. I feel like I'm constantly in a box, and that I haven't made any progress emotionally.

I wish we could have been friends.

JACOB RYKER  Kip shot Jacob Ryker in the chest. Jacob tackled Kip, and Kip shot him again in the hand.

I'm not going to ask for you to look at me. But I deserve your respect. I demand it. I don't care if you're sick, if you're insane, if you're crazy. I don't care. I think prison, a lifetime in prison is too good for you. If a dog was to go insane and if a dog got rabid and it bit someone, you destroy it. So I stand here and I ask, why haven't you been destroyed? I question myself for not pulling the trigger. I question myself for not getting the chance. I question myself for getting to watch my friend die in front of me. Having to see him die because I tripped. Because I wasn't fast enough to stop you. I wonder why. Why it was when I got out of the hospital, when I was trying to recover, I received hate mail. Why it was that Internet sites were set up and fan sites -- for you. Why is it that people are writing me telling me how much they loved you and loved what you did? And why is it that I had to be the enemy? Why is it that when people look at me, they think I'm weird. They oust me. I don't understand. I don't pretend to understand.

I don't think you should go to prison. I think the victims should get to do to you what you did to them. I think you should have to suffer in the hospital like they did. I think you should have to lie in the bed with the tubes in you. I think you should have to lie there, with no painkillers while they cut open your chest, cut open your lung, and stick a tube in there so they can drain the blood out so you can breathe. I want you to lay there and look at your hand, and think if you can keep some of it. I want you to think about people that have been trying to walk again. You don't deserve to live. You don't deserve to breathe. If I had my way, fifteen minutes... Three months of discipline, my senior drill instructor told me that I was the most disciplined recruit that he has ever seen. But I can't stand here and look at you without wanting to kill you.

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