|Birth name||Kipland Philip Kinkel|
30 August 1982 |
|Penalty||111 years in prison, without the possibility of parole|
|Date||20–21 May 1998|
|Weapon(s)||9 mm Glock 19 pistol, .22LR Ruger 10/22 rifle, .22LR Ruger MK II pistol|
Kipland Philip "Kip" Kinkel (born August 30, 1982) is an American spree killer. In May 1998, at the age of 15, he murdered his parents and engaged in a school shooting at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon, that left two students dead and 25 others wounded. He is serving a 111-year sentence, without the possibility of parole.
Kinkel was born in Springfield, Oregon to William Kinkel and Faith Zuranski. He has an older sister, Kristin. His parents were both Spanish teachers. Faith Kinkel taught Spanish at Springfield High School, and William Kinkel taught at Lane Community College. The Kinkel family spent a sabbatical year in Spain when Kip was six, where he attended a non-English-speaking school. His family said that he struggled with the curriculum. When Kinkel returned to Oregon, he attended Walterville Elementary School in Springfield. His teachers considered him immature and lacking physical and emotional development. Based on the recommendation of his teachers, Kinkel's parents had him repeat the first grade. In the fourth grade, he was diagnosed with dyslexia and was placed in extensive special education classes.
Kinkel had an interest in firearms and explosives from an early age. His father first denied this, but later enrolled him at gun safety courses, buying him a .22 caliber Long rifle and eventually a 9mm Glock handgun when Kip was 15.
Events leading to shooting
On May 20, 1998, Kinkel was suspended pending an expulsion hearing from Thurston High School for being in possession of a loaded, stolen handgun. A friend of Kinkel's had stolen a pistol from the father of one of his friends and arranged to sell the weapon to Kinkel the night before. Kinkel paid $110 ($154.94 when adjusted for inflation) for the Beretta Model 90 .32-caliber pistol loaded with a 9-round magazine, which he then placed in a paper bag and left in his locker. When the father discovered he was missing a handgun, he reported it to the police and supplied the names of students he believed might have stolen the firearm. Kinkel's name was not on the list. The school became aware of his possible involvement and questioned him. When he was checked for weapons, he reportedly stated: "Look, I'm gonna be square with you guys; the gun's in my locker." Kinkel was suspended pending an expulsion hearing from Thurston High School, and he and his friend were arrested. Kinkel was released from police custody and driven home by his father.
Murder of parents
At home that afternoon, Kinkel was told by his father that he would be sent to military school if he did not change his behavior. At 3:30 p.m., Kinkel retrieved his locked-up rifle from his parents' bedroom, loaded it, and went to the kitchen, where he shot his father in the back of the head.
He waited for his mother to come home. About 6 p.m., as she walked up the stairs from the garage, Kinkel shot her twice in the back of the head, three times in the face, and once in the heart.
He later stated that he had wanted to protect his parents from the embarrassment that his expulsion would have caused them.
Kinkel dragged his mother's body from the bottom of the stairs into the garage and dragged his father into the bathroom, where he locked the door. He placed a white sheet over each of the bodies. During the morning, he also played the song "Liebestod" from the soundtrack of Romeo + Juliet repeatedly. It was still playing when the police arrived at the residence.
Thurston High School shooting
On May 21, Kinkel drove his mother's Ford Explorer to the high school. He wore a trench coat to hide the five weapons he carried: two hunting knives, a 9mm Glock 19 pistol, a Ruger .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle, and a .22-caliber Ruger MK II pistol. He was carrying 1,127 rounds of ammunition.
He parked on North 61st Street, two blocks from the school, then jogged to the campus, entered the patio area and fired two shots, one fatally wounding Ben Walker and the other wounding Ryan Atteberry. Kinkel went to the cafeteria and, walking across it, fired the remaining 48 rounds from his rifle, wounding 24 students and killing 17-year-old Mikael Nickolauson. Kinkel fired a total of 50 rounds, accumulating 37 hits, and two fatalities.
When Kinkel's rifle ran out of ammunition and he began to reload, wounded student Jacob Ryker tackled him, assisted by several other students. Kinkel drew the Glock and fired one shot before he was disarmed, injuring Ryker again as well as another student. The students restrained Kinkel until the police arrived and arrested him. A total of seven students were involved in subduing and disarming Kinkel.
Nickolauson died at the scene; Walker died after being transported to the hospital and kept on life support until his parents arrived. The other students, including Ryker, were also taken to the hospital with a variety of wounds. Ryker had a perforated lung, but he made a full recovery.
Trial and imprisonment
At the police station, Kinkel lunged at officer Al Warthen with his knife, screaming, "Shoot me, kill me!" The officer repelled Kinkel with pepper spray. Kinkel later said that he wanted to trick the officer into shooting him, and that he had wanted to commit suicide after killing his parents but could not bring himself to do so.
At his sentencing, the defense presented experts on mental health to show that the assailant was mentally ill. Jeffrey Hicks, the only psychologist who had treated Kinkel before the shootings, said that he was in satisfactory mental health. He had seen Kinkel for nine sessions, after which the boy's parents terminated the therapy.
On September 24, 1999, three days before jury selection was set to begin, Kinkel pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder, foregoing the possibility of being acquitted by reason of insanity. In November 1999, Kinkel was sentenced to 111 years in prison without the possibility of parole. At sentencing, Kinkel apologized to the court for the murder of his parents and the shooting spree.
In June 2007, Kinkel sought a new trial. He said that his previous attorneys should have taken the case to trial and used the insanity defense. Two psychiatrists testified that Kinkel exhibited signs of paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the shooting. In August 2007, a Marion County judge denied him a new trial. Kinkel appealed, arguing among other things that he had had ineffective assistance of counsel during the trial proceedings. On January 12, 2011, the Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court judgment, denying his motion for a new trial. Kinkel is currently appealing his sentence in both federal and state courts. In federal court he claims his guilty plea should not have been accepted without a prior mental health evaluation. In state court Kinkel is challenging the validity of the virtual life sentence he was given, citing Miller v. Alabama.
Kinkel is incarcerated at the Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem, Oregon. He received his GED while serving a portion of his life sentence at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn, Oregon. On June 11, 2007, Kinkel, nearing his 25th birthday (maximum age to be held as a juvenile in Oregon), was transferred from the Oregon Youth Authority, MacLaren Correctional Facility, to the Oregon State Correctional Institution, Oregon Department of Corrections.
- "The Killer at Thurston High: Who is Kip Kinkel?". Frontline. PBS. Retrieved 2007-06-24.
- "Tapes show Kinkel's return to scene of Oregon school shooting". CNN. January 21, 2000. Retrieved 2007-06-26.
- Fancher, Nicole (2006-10-02). "8 years later: Thurston and Kinkel revisited". Oregon Daily Emerald. Retrieved 2007-09-27.
- Verhovek, Sam Howe (1999-11-11). "Teenager To Spend Life in Prison For Shootings". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-14.
- "Accused Oregon school shooter shows no emotion in court". CNN. 1998-05-22. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- "Thurston Memorial Dedication on May 21". The Register-Guard. 2003. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- Howe Verhovek, Sam (1999-11-11). "Teenager to spend life in prison for shootings". The New York Times.
- "Doctors: Kinkel hid schizophrenia". KATU. June 19, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-26.
- Kinkel v. Lawhead, http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A137866.htm (Or App, Jan. 12, 2011).
- "Kip Kinkel uses landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling to challenge sentence". Oregonlive. April 26, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-27.
- "School shooter Kinkel moves to adult prison". Statesman Journal. June 12, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-23.[dead link]