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A jury of seven men and five women will now decide if Luke Andrews, 13, intended to kill his teacher in a North Scott Junior High School classroom last August.

In their closing arguments, the attorneys — prosecutor Julie Walton and defense attorney Melanie Thwing — agreed Andrews, then 12, pointed a loaded Smith & Wesson .22-caliber in the face of his seventh-grade social studies teacher, Dawn Spring, and pulled the trigger the morning of Aug. 31.

They disagree about whether he intended to kill her.

The defense: Andrews "made a bad decision because he wanted attention"

Thwing pointed to the messages and memes Andrews sent to his classmates depicting an Anime girl with a slashed wrist and an Anime girl hanging. Those messages went unanswered, she said. Andrews showed one classmate the gun in his back pack on the bus the morning of Aug. 31, she continued. But he didn’t get the reaction he was looking for, so he upped the ante when he got in the classroom and pointed the gun at Spring and her student teacher, Kaitlyn MacDonald.

That does not mean he intended to kill anyone, she argued.

The safety prevented the gun from firing, and if he intended to kill someone, he could have remedied that, Thwing told the jury.

“Luke had time in that classroom if he wanted to shoot someone to look down, fix the safety, take it off and point it back at a teacher, point it back at Dawn and shoot her,” Thwing said.

Instead, the boy got the attention he wanted and calmed down immediately, walking 120 feet from Spring’s classroom to a counselor’s office without doing anything to her or anyone else.

Evidence shows Andrews is guilty of assault and carrying weapons, not attempted murder, the defense lawyer argued.

“The facts are that Luke made a bad decision because he wanted attention,” Thwing said. “He brought a gun to school. He knew how the safety worked, and he engaged the safety. You cannot find Luke Andrew's guilty of attempt to commit murder. There's more than enough reasonable doubt.”

The prosecutor's case: “This wasn’t for attention; this was to kill somebody."

In her rebuttal, Walton argued “you don’t need bullets to get attention.”

“Luke Andrews brought a loaded weapon to school, a loaded firearm,” Walton said. “This wasn’t for attention; this was to kill somebody. That’s what loaded guns do, and he pointed it at Dawn and he pulled the trigger. But for Luke Andrews’ incompetence with that gun, this would be another case. This would be a horrific case. But he doesn’t get discounts for incompetence. He’s guilty. He tried to kill Dawn Spring. That is the evidence.”

She referenced Spring's testimony, that the teacher batted the gun away two or three times, but he kept pointing it back at her. Spring got Andrews out of the classroom — miraculously calmly, Walton said — and walked him down the hall to the office of school counselor Holly Leinhauser. The two women had to wrestle Andrews for the gun.

“He didn't give up that gun willingly,” Walton said. “They had to struggle with it. And finally, when they got the gun away from him, Holly's doing what a counselor does and saying, ‘Why, why?’ His response is to the effect, ‘I wanted to end it all and anyone that got in my way.’

“And who got in his way that morning?" the prosecutor asked. "Dawn Spring, and his intent was to end her. And thank God that plan was foiled.”

Walton said Andrews’ behavior and actions in the days prior further proved his intent to kill. Andrews sent messages to classmates about having a surprise for them and showing them a gun, she said. A forensic computer expert testified he discovered internet searches on his school-issued computer for how a gun works and where the safety is on a pistol.

The jury will decide

The jury got the case at 10:50 a.m. Tuesday. Seventh Judicial District Chief Judge Marlita Greve sent the jury home about 4 p.m. when they had not reached a verdict. Deliberations will resume Wednesday morning.

Andrews, dressed in a light blue button-down shirt and tie, sat hunched forward as he has been for much of the trial.

Andrews’ family, school staff — including Spring and MacDonald — and Eldridge police sat in the courtroom Tuesday morning and listened.

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