State Pushes For U.S. Supreme Court To Uphold Kip Kinkel's Sentence

Nov 14, 2018

As the U.S. Supreme Court weighs a petition to revisit the 112-year sentence of convicted school shooter Kip Kinkel, Oregon is imploring the justices to uphold it. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

1998 Springfield PD booking photo of Kip Kinkel (left) and recent photo of Kinkel from OSCI.

In a brief filed by Oregon’s Solicitor General this month, the state argues that Kinkel’s constitutional rights against “cruel and unusual punishment” were not violated given the severity of his crimes…backing an earlier decision by the Oregon Supreme Court.

Marsha Levick of the Juvenile Law Center based in Philadelphia is one of Kinkel’s attorneys. She says between several high court rulings and what’s been learned about young offenders, Kinkel deserves this opportunity.

“There is an interesting issue in Kip’s case about the Oregon Supreme Court ruling that his mental health diagnosis is what really justified the sentence that he received," Levick tells KLCC. 

A family photo of the Kinkels prior to Thurston School shooting.
Credit BBC

"We vehemently disagree with that.”

Kinkel’s attorneys say he struggled with paranoid schizophrenia and depression prior to a shooting spree in Springfield 20 years ago. Both his parents and two Thurston High classmates died, and two dozen other students were wounded.

A decision might come by year’s end.