Court to determine if 12-year-old Roswell shooter is competent to stand trial

Posted at: 03/27/2014 5:52 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A hearing Friday will decide if a 12-year-old accused of shooting two students at his Roswell school is competent to stand trial.

It's a tricky case simply because of the fact Mason Campbell is so young, and the legal rules for him are extraordinarily more complicated than for adults.

There is no other way to describe the chaos at Berrendo Middle School that January day other than heart breaking.

After being shot in the face, neck and chest, 12-year-old Nathaniel Tavarez lost part of his vision, suffered through countless surgeries, and carries emotional scars no child should bear.    

13-year-old Kendal Sanders continues to recover after being shot in the arm.

State police quickly pointed to Mason Campbell as the student who entered the school's gym and opened fire.

The New Mexico Children's Code doesn't allow the system to prosecute anyone under 14 as an adult.

That means prosecutors must carefully craft their case, keeping in mind Campbell is a child.

Friday, Campbell is expected to be in court for a competency hearing.

A judge will decide whether Campbell is mentally able to understand his charges and has the mental ability to understand the consequences of his accused crimes.

Campbell spent time at UNM Hospital in Albuquerque with a child psychiatrist.  His evaluations will play a role in the judge's decisions. 

If Campbell is determined to not be competent, then he can be placed in a treatment facility until he can stand trial.

If he is competent, the judge will schedule an adjudicatory hearing, which is essentially a trial.

Campbell is charged with three counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

He remains in a juvenile detention facility near Roswell.

Chris Ramirez will be in Roswell and will have updates for you on KOB. You can follow his live tweets on twitter beginning at 1:30 by following @KOBChrisRamirez.