Harrison student must undergo psych evaluation

2013-02-26T01:15:00Z Harrison student must undergo psych evaluationBy Francis Davis of The Montana Standard Montana Standard
February 26, 2013 1:15 am  • 

The 14-year-old Harrison student who is accused of bringing two guns in his backpack onto school property has been ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation.

The youth, identified as Spencer Ore in court documents, is being held at a residential mental-health treatment center in Butte for people ages 8-18. He will remain there until the results of the psychological evaluation are known.

Ore had a status hearing on Monday in juvenile court in Virginia City in front of Judge Loren Tucker. The youth was not present, but he was represented by his attorney, Helen McCarthy. Also present to update the court on the status of Ore was chief juvenile probation officer Sam Stockett.

Madison County Attorney Chris Christensen said the youth has been cooperating since his detention was ordered by Judge Tucker on Jan. 28. Christensen said the boy is doing well, working with counselors, and going to school at the treatment center.

Ore is facing juvenile charges of criminal endangerment. Such a charge would be considered a felony if the youth were an adult. The court entered a plea of “not true” in a detention hearing in January. In juvenile court, true or not true replaces guilty or not guilty. If convicted, Ore could remain in juvenile detention until he reaches 18.

Court records indicated that McCarthy and Christensen agreed it is too early to decide the course of the case until the evaluation is completed. However, within two weeks a scheduling order should be filed indicating future court dates and a potential trial date.

Once the psychological evaluation is completed, Ore could be released to his parents, ordered into an out-patient program, or remain in detention. Before being moved to the center for treatment, Ore had been held at Reintegrating Youthful Offender Correctional Facility in Galen, a secured juvenile detention facility.

Madison County sheriff’s deputies arrested the youth after the two guns, a loaded .357 Magnum revolver and an unloaded .22-caliber pistol, were found in his backpack on Harrison School property on Jan. 25.

The incident began when a student told Harrison School Superintendent Fred Hofman that another student had a gun in his backpack. That student, Ore, was taken to the superintendent’s office and his backpack was secured.

Harrison, a small rural school, is located near Highway 287, about 25 miles east of Whitehall and about 50 miles southeast of Butte.

— Reporter Francis Davis can be reached at francis.davis@mtstandard.com

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