Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney-elect John Kellner has asked outgoing District Attorney George Brauchler to stay on the STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting case and lead the prosecution team, …
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Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney-elect John Kellner has asked outgoing District Attorney George Brauchler to stay on the STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting case and lead the prosecution team, according to a news release from the office.
Kellner will be sworn in as district attorney on Jan. 12, ahead of a February trial for the STEM shooting's older suspect.
Brauchler, who is term-limited, will serve as a chief deputy district attorney throughout the trial's duration, working with the district on a part-time basis. Kellner said Brauchler is invested in both the community and the case after working with victims for more than 18 months.
“I'm grateful to Mr. Brauchler for his commitment to the victims and families involved in the STEM shooting to see this trial through,” Kellner said in the release.
The May 7, 2019 shooting left eight students injured and 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo dead.
Defendant Devon Erickson pleaded not guilty nearly one year ago. Charges include felony first-degree murder. His trial begins Feb. 1. Erickson's former codefendant, Alec McKinney, pleaded guilty to similar charges and was sentenced in July to life in prison plus 38 year, with the possibility of parole after 40 years.
Kellner also announced who he named to his leadership team in the sprawling judicial district representing more than one million people in Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties.
• He selected Tom Byrnes, a chief deputy district attorney in the district, as his assistant district attorney — the No. 2 position within the office.
• Vicki Klingensmith will serve as the senior chief deputy district attorney in the district's Arapahoe County office. Klingensmith has been a prosecutor in the community for more than 16 years.
• Chief Deputy District Attorney Chris Wilcox will retain his role in the Douglas County office. Eva Wilson will lead the Elbert County office. Wilson has worked in the 1st Judicial District for 16 years, and previously served as a prosecutor in the 18th Judicial District for two decades.
Kellner said he views the 18th Judicial District as one of the state's best, but vowed do more to “support victims, tackle rising violent crimes in our communities, support rehabilitation for defendants, and improve transparency and accountability to create a more equitable criminal justice system.”
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