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Jury returns verdict in North Scott Jr. High School attempted shooting case

UPDATE: The teenager accused of attempting to open fire at North Scott Jr. High School has been found guilty on three different charges.

After deliberating for two days, a jury came down with a guilty verdict against 13-year-old Luke Andrews.  The teen was found guilty of assault with intent to commit serious injury, which is a lesser offense than the attempted murder charge he was initially facing.  Andrews was also found guilty of assault while displaying a dangerous weapon and guilty of carrying weapons on school grounds.

ORIGINAL:  DAVENPORT, Iowa - Closing arguments in the trial of 13-year-old Luke Andrews took place on July 16.

Andrews is charged with attempted murder, carrying weapons on school grounds and assault while displaying a weapon.

The teen is accused of bringing a loaded gun into North Scott Junior High School on August 31, 2018. He was 12-years-old at the time.

Witnesses say he walked into his 7th-grade classroom and pointed a black Smith & Wesson .22-caliber gun at the student-teacher, Kaitlyn MacDonald. Then, MacDonald said Andrews ordered everyone to get down on the ground. Then, he fanned the gun across the room and pointed it at his teacher, Dawn Spring.

Catch up on the trial with Reporter Ryan Jenkins' moment-to-moment updates

Spring said Andrews pulled the trigger. Police say the gun did not go off because the safety was on.

Spring testified that when the gun did not go off, he turned and looked at the gun with a "funny look" on his face and pointed the gun at her a second time.

Spring said she walked towards Andrew and tried to calmly get him to leave the classroom with her.

Related: North Scott Jr. High School teachers testify about being held at gunpoint

He followed her into the hallway and Spring took him to the counselor's office, where the school counselor and Spring both worked to get the gun away from Andrews.

Evidence also shows that Andrews used his school-provided computer to search for images of guns and to learn about how guns work in the day leading up to the incident.

Some students at the school had received "weird" messages from Andrews, and others said he showed them the gun he brought to school, or told him he was going to bring a gun to school in the days leading up to the incident.

Andrews was also said to have had images that depicted suicide and self-harm on his computer.

In court on Tuesday, Judge Marlita Greve read jury instructions to the jury.

Then, Assistant Scott County Attorney Julie Walton began her closing argument.

Walton argues that Andrews should be found guilty on all three charges.

Walton started talking about the charge of Assault While Using or Displaying a Dangerous Weapon.

She said evidence has proven to the jury that Andrews did display a dangerous weapon (a gun) and he did in fact point the gun at "a number of people."

Walton then went on to talk about the charge of Carrying Weapons on School Grounds, which she said had been proven to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

Finally, Walton focused a majority of her closing argument talking about the Attempted Murder charge.

"Let's focus, for this count, on what happened to Dawn Spring," Walton told the Jury.

In order to be found guilty of Attempted Murder, The State would have to prove that Andrews intentions were to point the gun at someone in a threatening manner.

"Dawn Spring told you that he pulled the trigger not once, but twice," said Walton.

She pointed to evidence and testimony throughout her argument.

She recalled a statement made by the school counselor that Luke said he brought a gun to school because he "wanted to end it all and anything that got in his way."

"Who got in his way that way?" asked Walton. "Dawn Spring. And his intent was to end it."

Walton asked the jury to "do the just thing," and return a verdict of guilty on all three counts.

Then, defense attorney Melanie Thwing began her opening argument.

She started off agreeing with some of the points Walton made.

"I think the evidence overwhelming tells you that Luke Andrews carried a gun into school. Not a dispute," Thwing said about count one. "Luke Andrews did commit an assault by using or displaying a dangerous weapon."

She then went on to also say that count two was difficult to dispute. She said Luke Andrews did bring a gun to school and was carrying the gun on school grounds.

"We are not asking you to ignore the evidence," she said.

Then Thwing said that Luke Andrews should not be found guilty for attempted murder. She argues that what Luke did was attention-seeking behavior.

A Deeper Dive: Defense argues teen was seeking attention when he brought a loaded gun to North Scott Jr. High School

She first focused on how witnesses described the moment Luke Andrews pulled the gun out in class.

"He pulls out the gun and points it at Kaitlyn MacDonald. Again, that's your assault and he says get down."

Then she said once Ms. Spring was giving him attention, he calmed down.

"He is finally getting what he wants. Which is attention. Which is someone to ask him 'why are you doing this," she said.

Thwing points out that Andrews is said to have told witnesses that "things are bad at home."

She goes on to point out that Ms. Spring walked Andrews 120 feet from classroom 29 to the counselor's office after the gun was pointed at her. She argues that if Andrews wanted to turn the safety off and shoot Ms. Spring, he could have done it successfully.

Thwing then moves on to the other evidence that was collected. They include the messages, images and "weird jokes" that were made to classmates in the days leading up to the incident.

"There's a theme that goes along with the messages. Each one seems to up the ante a little more," she said.

She argued that while Andrews made "weird jokes," sent messages that were never responded to and made the jokes, nobody asked him what he was doing, or why he was doing it.

"So, he yet again did not get the attention that he wanted," she argued. "We talked in jury selection about how sometimes when you're younger you don't make rational decisions."

Next, Thwing started to speak more specifically about the intent of Andrews on August 31.

"Luke knew how guns worked," she said. She pointed to an exhibit that showed searches Andrews had completed about pistol safety.

"Luke had time in that classroom, if he wanted to shoot someone, to look down, fix the safety, take it off and point it back at a teacher, point it back at Dawn and shoot her," she argued.

Thwing also pointed out that police found four boxes of ammunition and six other weapons at the Andrews home, where Luke is said to have obtained the gun.

"You can find Luke Andrews guilty of the Assault with a Dangerous Weapon. Facts support that. You can find Luke Andrews guilty of carrying weapons on school grounds. The facts support that," she said.

However, she argued the evidence did not prove that Andrews intended to attempt to commit murder.

"The facts are that Luke made a bad decision because he wanted attention," she said.

In a rebuttal argument, Walton held the gun Andrew brought to school in one hand, and a bag of bullets in the other.

"You don't need bullets to get attention. You need bullets to kill someone," she told the Jury. "Luke Andrews brought a loaded weapon to school. A loaded firearm. That wasn't for attention. That was to kill someone. That's what loaded guns do," said Walton.

Walton argued that Andrews incompetently used the gun that he brought to school, and she thanked God that he did.

12 members of the jury were then sent into deliberations. Three alternate jurors were dismissed.

Jury deliberations lasted about 5 hours on Tuesday and the jury was sent home.

Jury deliberations continued on Wednesday morning.

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