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Jury seated in trial of second alleged STEM School shooter; opening statements set for Thursday afternoon

Trial scheduled through June 25; Erickson has pleaded not guilty
Posted at 3:00 PM, May 27, 2021

DENVER – A jury was seated Thursday afternoon in the trial for the second STEM School shooting suspect, who faces 48 total counts, including varying counts of first-degree murder.

Devon Erickson, 20, faces a trial for his alleged involvement in the May 2019 shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch, in which 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo was killed and several others were injured.

Erickson was 18 at the time of the shooting and was charged as an adult. He faces 48 counts, including 43 felonies, in the case and pleaded not guilty to the charges at an arraignment in January 2020. Two of the 48 counts are sentence enhancers if he is convicted.

Devon Erickson in court
Devon Erickson, left, in court on Thursday.

Along with multiple different first-degree murder charges that look at different theories, Erickson also faces counts of attempted murder, arson, conspiracy, burglary, theft and several other charges in the case.

Erickson’s alleged accomplice in the shooting, Alec McKinney, was sentenced last July to life in prison with the possibility of parole after he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and more than a dozen other felonies in connection with the shooting. He was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole because he was a juvenile when the crimes occurred.

Then-District Attorney George Brauchler said McKinney could potentially become eligible for parole after 28 years in prison.

Erickson, if convicted of first-degree murder, would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. His attorneys have argued that McKinney forced Erickson into the shooting, thought prosecutors have argued that was not the case.
At McKinney’s sentencing hearing, he apologized to the victims and their families, though the parents of Castillo did not accept the apology and said, along with others, that McKinney was only showing “crocodile tears.”

Erickson’s trial had been set to begin last September but was pushed back because of the COVID pandemic.

Opening statements in Erickson’s trial are expected to begin at 3:20 p.m. Thursday, and the trial is scheduled through June 25 in Douglas County District Court Division 1 in Castle Rock. Prosecutors said ahead of the trial they expected to narrow down the jury pool from 600 to select 12 jurors and four alternates.

Brauchler, now a chief deputy district attorney within the 18th Judicial District, will be among the prosecutors handling the case.

There will be no cameras allowed in the courtroom and only a limited number of members of the press. There will not be any overflow seating at the courthouse for the trial, but it will be streamed on Webex every day. Links to the stream can be found here but will be update daily.

This is a developing news story and will be updated.