Accused school shooter's hearing brings dozens to Noblesville courtroom

(Sketch: Tina Hansford)

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WTHR) - A couple of dozen people lined up early to attend the initial hearing of the Noblesville 13 year old accused of nearly killing a classmate and his teacher.

Many of them were curious. They wanted to see and hear for themselves and for the first time the Noblesville West Middle School student accused of such a heinous crime. They were surprised.

The 7th grader sat with his back to the audience, wearing orange and white jail garb, sandwiched between his mother and father. Five-and-a-half feet tall and 140 pounds, he didn’t look big enough or old enough to bring bloodshed, fear and terror to an entire community.

“I had to hold back tears in the courtroom because he looked so extremely young. He’s a kid,” said Deidra Haynes, the mother of a student who just graduated Noblesville High School.

The teenager didn't flinch as Magistrate Tod Ruetz read the list of charges, starting with 2 counts of attempted murder, ”the intent to kill did knowingly shoot” teacher Jason Seaman and classmate Ella Whistler.

“It’s just crazy,” said Tiler Langstrom, who is studying to become a teacher. “He seemed so normal. He’s not weird. His parents aren’t weird, just normal people. I just can’t believe he did this."

The suspect never turned to look at the crowd. If he had, he might have seen his wounded teacher in the back row. Jason Seaman didn’t speak with reporters.

The 7th grader replied to the magistrate’s questions politely with “yes” or “no your honor.”

“He seemed so nervous whenever he would talk his voice would kind of, I just feel like the reality is hitting him as well," said Haleigh Greer, who also plans to become a teacher and watched from the second row.

The boy’s father spoke only briefly and quietly to him and for a few moments rubbed his son’s shoulder.

“It doesn’t look like there is anything disturbing him but obviously something had to happen for him to act out the way he did," Haynes said.

A factfinding hearing is set for June 25.

It appears likely defense attorneys will ask for a delay, seeking more time to examine the evidence against the boy.