- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) - A judge will hold a hearing Friday on whether a 12-year-old boy is competent to stand trial in a Jan. 14 middle school shooting in which two other students were wounded.

District Court Judge Freddie Romero will preside over the hearing for the boy, who is charged with three counts of aggravated battery in a deadly weapon in Berrendo Middle School’s gym.

A 12-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl were seriously wounded when the defendant allegedly fired a shotgun that he had taken to school. Authorities have said a teacher at the school talked the shooter into dropping the shotgun.

The boy would stand trial as a juvenile. Under New Mexico law, the state can charge minors as adults only if they are at least 14

The Associated Press is not identifying the boy because of his age.

After a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation of the boy was completed in January, he was transferred from an Albuquerque psychiatric facility to a juvenile center.

The Roswell Daily Record (https://bit.ly/QfLmnX) reports that Special Prosecutor Matt Chandler declined comment on whether he thinks the boy charged in the case should stand trial.

Chandler was the top state prosecutor for a district that does not include Roswell, but he took on the school shooting case because the district attorney for Roswell stepped aside because of conflicts of interest involving her office and its staff.

Chandler remained on the school shooting case as special prosecutor after he stepped down from his position as district attorney job for two eastern New Mexico counties to start a private law practice.

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