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Trial begins for 15-year-old Lamar High School shooter

Accused Lamar High School shooter facing up to 40 years
Accused Lamar High School shooter facing up to 40 years 02:12

ARLINGTON ( – Security video shown Tuesday in the murder trial of a 15-year-old boy, showed him calmly setting down a backpack at the corner of Lamar High School in Arlington in March, before firing two shots toward students waiting for the school doors to open.

Students who appeared alarmed by the first shot, scattered after the second, with one boy, 16-year-old Ja'Shawn Poirier falling after he was killed instantly by one of the pellets from the 12-gauge shotgun.

The 15-year-old shooter, who Judge Alex Kim said not to identify due to his age, faces up to 40 years in prison. He has already pleaded that the facts in the case are true, the same as a guilty plea in adult court.

One of his defense attorneys, Frank Adler, told the jury in his opening statement that it was a horrific crime, and that the boy deserved to be punished. However, he portrayed him as largely left to raise himself, with a father who was working, and a mother who lives out of state and who has not visited or called her son since the shooting happened.

The boy appeared in court in his tan, detention clothing. Judge Kim questioned him extensively outside the presence of the jury about his choice of clothing, telling him it could influence the way he was perceived, but the boy said he was voluntarily choosing to wear the uniform.

Another video from the body camera of Arlington Police Corporal Ford Lyman, showed that he, a security officer and paramedics, performed CPR for nearly 15 minutes, trying to keep Poirier alive after he was shot. Their efforts were of no help though, according to testimony from Dr. Steven Hemberger, with the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's office, who said one of the pellets had killed Poirier instantly when it severed the blood flow to his brain.

Psychologist Dr. Monica Jeter testified the boy had claimed he took a gun to school in part due to a sexual assault that had occurred on campus in a bathroom. 

"He just said he saw one of the guys that did it to me, and shot in the general direction," she said.

Vanessa Barnes, a detective with Arlington Police, said in investigating the boy's claim of assault she thought something had likely happened to him, due to his description of an act that sounded believable. However she found conflicting details about where he said the assault happened, and claims he had told a teacher about it, and closed her investigation.

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