A 14-year-old girl admitted shooting and wounding a classmate at a parochial school, telling a judge in juvenile court today that she was upset over being teased by the victim and her friends.
Elizabeth Bush was asked whether she took the .22-caliber revolver to Bishop Neumann Junior-Senior High School in Williamsport with the intention of shooting 13-year-old Kimberly Marchese on March 7.
"Yes," Bush said. "My original intent was to shoot myself and show everybody how much it hurts so they could see."
Judge William S. Kieser asked what changed her mind.
"It just happened, sir. I don't know," Bush said. "I just wanted to scare her."
Bush, who has been held at the Tioga County Youth Detention Center since the shooting, said she shot Marchese because of "the pain they put me through." No one else was injured.
Teasing Led to Depression
Marchese, who was wounded in the shoulder as she sat at a table in the school cafeteria, was wearing an arm sling as she sat in the courtroom. Bush's parents said their daughter was depressed in the weeks before the incident, apparently because of teasing by other students at the school, where she had recently transferred from a public school.
District Attorney Thomas Marino said he decided to prosecute the case in the juvenile division of Lycoming County Common Pleas Court rather than in an adult court, where she could face a sentence of several years in prison. Marchese's parents also said they did not want Bush tried as an adult.
Marino called several witnesses at the hearing, including school officials, a police investigator and Marchese's father.
Bush's attorney, George Lepley, said the judge could sentence his client today. One option would be to move Bush from the detention center to a "secure placement facility," where she would have access to psychiatric treatment and counseling services, he said.
Lepley said his client would likely have to spend at least a year at such a facility.