Luke Andrews trial coverage: Case transferred back to juvenile court following verdict

The trial for Luke Andrews, the student who police say pointed a loaded gun at a teacher in North Scott Junior High has begun. Follow live updates on TV6. (MGN Image)
The trial for Luke Andrews, the student who police say pointed a loaded gun at a teacher in North Scott Junior High has begun. Follow live updates on TV6. (MGN Image)(KWQC)
Published: Jul. 10, 2019 at 1:17 PM CDT
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UPDATE 7/18:

Luke Andrews' case has been transferred back to juvenile court following Wednesday's verdict.

With a ruling by Judge Mark Fowler on Thursday, any proceeding and any information about the case from here forward is now confidential. This was decided after Andrews' attorney requested the media and public be excluded from anything relating to his case. The judge granted that request.

TV6 was asked to leave the courtroom and likely won't know what the next steps in the process will be for Andrews.

He was found guilty in adult court of two aggravated misdemeanors, which each carry a maximum sentence of two years, along with carrying a weapon on school grounds, which is a felony with a maximum sentence of five years. However, his case has been moved to a juvenile court.

To get a better understanding of what a judge will decide, TV6 asked attorney Mike Walton about the process of punishing juvenile offenders.

He told TV6 juvenile court does not impose "sentences," meaning there is no place where juveniles are sent for a certain number of years. There are many options a judge may decide are best for the offender, and the emphasis in juvenile court is to determine what is in the best interest of the juvenile to help them return home.

An application was filed to suggest next steps for Andrews on Thursday.

A juvenile court officer cited the seriousness of his charges and suggested the best fit would be for him to remain in custody and detained. They said "remaining in his home would be contrary to the child's best interests" because he has been deemed a youthful offender and was convicted of very serious charges.

UPDATE 7/17:

The jury has found Luke Andrews, the student accused of pointing a gun at a teacher's face, guilty of assault while using or displaying a dangerous weapon, guilty of carrying weapons on school grounds, and guilty of the lesser included offense of intent with assault to commit serious injury. He was not found guilty on the charge of attempted murder.

He was being tried in adult court as a youthful offender.

A detention hearing is scheduled for July 18.

For App users: Please scroll to the bottom where you will see a link that says "Additional Content Available - View Story in Web Browser" to follow along with live updates.

UPDATE 7/16:

The jury has been dismissed for the day. At this time, a verdict has not been reached.

The jury will resume Wednesday at 9 a.m. Deliberations will continue then.

UPDATE 7/15 12:45 p.m.:

Monday morning, the jury heard from four Eldridge Police officers, two of them for a second time.

Ofc. Jack Schwertman testified on behalf of the search warrant executed at Luke Andrews' home. According to him, six firearms were found inside his parent's bedroom in a locked gun case. Schwertman also testified to finding four boxes of ammunition, consistent to what would be used inside the .22 caliber handgun Andrews had inside North Scott Junior High.

The State then recalled SRO Bruce Schwarz who was questioned on the police report and what students reported to the police. Friday, two students testified saying they heard a "click" noise when Andrews reportedly pulled the trigger. One of them also said they saw Andrews look down at the gun after pulling the trigger and making a "sliding" motion in which that student heard another "click." When asked if they remember telling police they heard a "click," they both said "yes."

SRO Schwarz's testified Monday saying those students did not tell police they heard a "click."

Eldridge officer Robert Haxton testified solely on the gun Andrews is said to have used. The Defense asked on the sound the gun would make if the safety was on versus if it wasn't. This testimony is related to several witnesses testifying saying they heard a "click" when Andrews' reportedly pulled the trigger.

The state also recalled Ofc. Joseph Sisler who testified to what happened when Luke Andrews was taken to the Eldridge Police Department. Sisler says he handcuffed Andrews at the school, who he says seemed calm throughout. Sisler says Andrews was then taken to the Department by a Scott County Deputy and other officers were advised that "no one was to speak" to Andrews until Sisler arrived there.

Sisler testified that Andrews' parents were at the Department when he arrived and had spoken privately to Andrews prior to his interrogation.

Sisler says he asked the parents permission prior to questioning Andrews, he then read him his Miranda Rights and asked him why he did what he did. He says Andrews replied, "I don't know."

The Jury was sent home for the rest of Monday and was instructed to return at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday. On Tuesday, the Jury will receive instructions, hear closing arguments, and will then start deliberations.

UPDATE 7/12 4:30 p.m..

Teachers, students, and computer experts testified Friday in the trial of Luke Andrews, the 13-year-old charged with attempted murder.

The first to take the stand was an incoming 8th-grade student who testified Andrews showed him the gun the morning of the incident on Aug. 31.

Next, Monyka Leitzen, an attendance and guidance secretary for North Scott Junior High, testified she interacted with Andrews after he pulled out the gun.

According to her testimony, Andrews said he wanted to "end it all."

When Leitzen asked him if he meant the teachers and students, he replied, "I only have 12 bullets."

Kaitlyn MacDonald, a former student teacher with North Scott who was in Andrews' classroom at the time of the incident, took the stand.

She recounted when Andrews walked into the classroom and told everyone to get down.

"I guess I was just thinking you know I was never going to be a wife, a mom, I was trying to think of the last things I said to my family. I pretty much accepted at that point I was going to die that day," said MacDonald.

MacDonald detailed the moments one teacher, Dawn Spring, was able to get Andrews out of the classroom while she lined students against a wall.

"Students were crying, some were having panic attacks, another student was motioning the cross on his body over and over."

Next, Spring, the teacher at whom the gun was pointed when the trigger was pulled, took the stand.

Spring answered questions on concerns raised about Andrews' use of a Chromebook the day before the incident.

According to her testimony, he was looking at pictures of guns on his Chromebook while in class.

She described the incidents of the next morning including how she tried to distract Andrews when he was pointing the gun at the students.

"He puts the gun up at face level and pulls the trigger," said Spring when talking about Andrews pointing the gun at her.

"I thought I heard an audible click at that time and then he turned the gun and looked at it funny like that's weird kind of a look at it and then he put the gun up in my face a second time. At that point, my mind said, 'oh my gosh, he just tried to shoot me and I better not let that happen again.'"

Spring testified how she managed to talk Andrews into walking with her through the hallway.

She testified she asked Andrews what was wrong and says he told her, "Home. Home's bad. Home's really, really, bad."

That is when the mother of the defendant briefly left the courtroom with tears in her eyes.

Other students took the stand as well, giving their own accounts.

Friday afternoon, Joshua Tipsword, a network specialist with the North Scott school district testified about the content he found on the Chromebook issued to Andrews by the school.

He talked about graphic images found including one of an anime character hanging herself.

Another witness, a police officer, testified that a google search was done on Andrews' computer on how guns work and where a pistol's safety is.

Testimony wrapped up at about 3:30 p.m.

The trial will resume Monday morning.

UPDATE 7/10 5 p.m.

The jury for the trial of Luke Andrews, accused of attempted murder, was seated Wednesday afternoon after nearly three days of jury selection.

15 people were selected, including 8 men and 7 women. There will be 12 people to serve as jurors and 3 alternates.

Opening statements for the trial will begin Thursday morning at 9 a.m. The trial is expected to last eight days.

Normally, Iowa Courts have strict rules on giving information about juvenile offenders, except in extreme cases. The court decided this is one of those.

Since Andrews is being tried as a "youthful offender" in adult court it is being treated like an adult trial. The media is allowed to have cameras in the courtroom. TV6 plans to have a crew there every day bringing you testimony and the arguments made in this sensitive case.

UPDATE 7/10 1:17 p.m.

The trial for a North Scott Junior High student accused of attempted murder continued Wednesday morning.

Prosecutors say 13-year-old Luke Andrews aimed a .22 caliber handgun at

Officials say he pulled the trigger but the safety was on and it did not fire.

Andrews is being charged in adult court as a youthful offender on three charges; Attempted Murder, Carrying Weapons on School Grounds and Assault While Displaying a Dangerous Weapon.

The court hopes to have a jury chosen by Wednesday.

Eight potential jurors were questioned out of 33 people selected as the possible jury pool for the Andrews case. There will be 12 total with three alternates.

TV6 OPENS UP: Weighing the Decision On Publishing Accused's Name and Picture

By News Director, Stephanie Hedrick

"KWQC-TV6 has always exercised extra caution in handling crime stories involving children or teenagers, regardless of whether they’re suspects or victims, and we did not take the decision to name the young suspect in this case lightly. Luke Andrews is on trial not in a juvenile court, but as a youthful offender in an adult court for an offense that involves issues that concern most parents of school-age children deeply. Additionally, though just 13 now, he faces a sentence that could extend well beyond his teenage years if convicted. In order to ensure that we provide you with important details that emerge during the trial clearly and accurately, we have chosen to name the teenage defendant. TV6 continues to give careful consideration to whether, when and how images of Luke Andrews will be used as the trial progresses. In these discussions we adhere to the Code of Ethics put together by the Society of Professional Journalists – Seek Truth and Report It, Minimize Harm, Act Independently and Be Accountable and Transparent."

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