CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming judge sentenced a teenager to up to 20 years in prison Thursday for bringing firearms and ammunition to his school in 2018 after he said he was upset following his biological father's death.
Dale Warner, now 15, brought two handguns and ammunition to Sage Valley Junior High, where he was an eighth-grade student, the Casper Star-Tribune reported. The weapons were peacefully taken away after a classmate told the principal.
Warner was initially charged as an adult with nine counts of attempted first-degree murder, one for each person the police said the teenager was targeting, prosecutors said.
Warner accepted a plea deal in January that required him to plead guilty to assault and possession of a firearm with unlawful intent. Warner said he was in significant emotional pain at the time of the incident since his biological father had died days earlier.
Attorneys for the teenager had asked the Campbell County District Court judge to allow the boy to serve two of his sentences at the same time, which would have effectively reduced the punishment to eight to 15 years’ imprisonment.
The judge sided with prosecutors, who wanted him to serve each of his sentences consecutively.
The boy's adopted father, Scott Warner, said his son needed to be held accountable for his actions but argued teenagers who committed similar crimes were not punished as severely.
“I don’t understand,” he said Thursday. “I would like to know why they were so harsh on this case.”
He is expected to serve his sentence at a juvenile correctional facility in Omaha, Nebraska.