Attorney: Father of Marysville school shooter believed he could legally …

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Attorney: Father of Marysville school shooter believed he could legally possess guns.

A federal prosecutor says Raymond Lee Fryberg Jr. “slipped under the screen” when he purchased firearms despite a court order barring him from gun ownership.SEATTLE (AP) — The trial is set to begin for the father of a Washington state teenager who fatally shot four high school classmates and himself in October.Eleven months ago, 15-year-old Jaylen Fryberg took his father’s .40-caliber Beretta Px4 Storm handgun and opened fire on his friends and cousins in the cafeteria at his high school 40 minutes north of Seattle, fatally injuring four of his classmates and wounding another before turning the gun on himself.

The slaughter at Marysville Pilchuck High School marked the deadliest school shooting since 26 students and teachers were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. Attorney’s Office in Seattle and Fryberg’s attorneys will lay out their plans to the 14-person jury, including two alternates during opening statements. On government forms, Fryberg repeatedly stated that he wasn’t the subject of a protection order, despite pleading no contest to violating the 2002 order in 2012, Miyake said.

Defense attorney John Henry Browne countered by saying the now-deceased tribal police officer who said he served Fryberg with the paperwork was the brother of Fryberg’s ex-girlfriend, who had sought the protection order. District Court Judge James Robart and lawyers on both sides questioned about two dozen jurors individually, almost half were sent home based on their answers.

One woman was excused because she works for the Marysville School District, while another was let go because her child is a student at the high school. In 2002, after he threatened, slapped and pulled the hair of his ex-girlfriend, Raymond Fryberg had a permanent order of protection issued against him by tribal court, disqualifying him from firearm ownership.

Fryberg’s lawyer is arguing that he was never notified of the gun ban, and that Fryberg was therefore not being knowingly deceptive when he completed his background check form. That check came back clear, along with at least a dozen other government checks, Browne said. “You can’t get any more thoroughly checked than you are for a concealed-weapon permit,” he said. “Mr. Fryberg’s word alone should not have been enough to evade federal screening, but his domestic violence restraining order — which he received probation for violating in 2012 — was never reported to the state and national databases that feed the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS. That’s because here is no uniform system for making sure that the relevant records from the nation’s 567 Native American tribes make it into NICS. Francesca Hillary, a spokeswoman for the Tulalip Reservation, said after the shooting that tribes had been asking for a streamlined records reporting system for more than a decade.

While a 2010 Congressional Act required the Attorney General to ensure that tribal officials could access national crime information databases, leading to two pilot projects, the Department of Justice said in August that state regulations prevented information sharing among all of the nation’s tribes and the federal government. In the meantime, tribes have been relying on their own methods: some enter records directly in NICS, some rely on state or local agencies to do the reporting, and some have no involvement with federal and state databases at all. According to Heather Anderson, section chief of the Washington State Patrol’s Criminal Records Division, participation in the program to build those databases is voluntary, and the Tulalip Tribes were not participating at the time. The tribes are a participant now, she said, and restraining orders out of Tribal Court are entered into the system by the Snohomish County sheriffs Office and recorded in Superior Court as well.

Brown has accused the government of trying to punish his client for the sins of his son. “He had nothing to do with what happened at that high school,” he said shortly after Fryberg was charged in March. In 2010, the last year for which such information was available, the ATF referred only 62 of 72,659 denied applicants for prosecution — that’s 0.09 percent. The Center for American Progress suggested in 2013 that the ATF study the two million NICS denials issued since its inception in 1998 and develop a risk-assessment system for denied applicants.

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