San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Student Who Shot School Director Handed Maximum Sentence

Judges sentenced the 17-year-old student responsible for the death of a director at a Heredia private school to 15 years in prison Wednesday.

On July 1, the student walked into the office of Nancy Chaverri Jiménez, principal of the Montebello school and shot her in the head. She died July 11.

Representatives of the defendant argued the boy was suffering a mental disorder at the time of the incident and was unable to control his actions. He had been under significant stress, according to the defendants, which eventually exploded the morning of July 1.

“It was evident that the boy was not affected by any type of disorder,” said Federico Morales, the lawyer representing the victim’s family. “[On Wednesday], judges said that stress should not lead to outcomes of this magnitude … and issued the maximum penalty for the crime for a minor: Fifteen years in a specialized center.”

Morales said that the family couldn’t get any satisfaction out of the decision as “nothing in the world would repair the harm done.”

“The process didn’t represent anything of great importance,” he said. “But the family wanted the judges to acknowledge that a crime was committed and that this type of thing shouldn’t happen. That is precisely what this sentence gave them.”

Morales doesn’t expect the case to go to another court as the circumstances and events led little to question.

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