Viljandi school shooter sentenced for 9 years ({{commentsTotal}})

The trial over a 15-year-old student who shot and killed a teacher in Viljandi in October last year, in Estonia's first school-shooting incident, began in September and on Tuesday, the Tartu County Court reached verdict.

The teenage shooter had previously admitted to the crime in the trial, held behind closed doors. Now 16, the killer said that he understands and accepts the murder charge.

The student fatally shot teacher Ene Sarap (56) multiple times using his father's handgun during a lesson at the Paalalinna School in Viljandi. Others were not harmed and the gunman did not resist arrest, waiting in the classroom until police arrived. Authorities determined that his father kept the gun and the ammunition as required by law.

Shortly after the killing, the student - named only as Vahur by media - was taken to a psychiatric unit. He spent two months in the hospital, after which he was found mentally fit to stand trial.

Prosecutor, who sought a maximum 10-year sentence for the accused, said that during the trial, it was determined that the murdered teacher did not provoke the killer and there was nothing to indicate that she had bullied or otherwise harassed him.

Gunman’s lawyer said that there is no argument whether his client committed the crime or not, but argued that the teacher’s behaviour toward the shooter had previously been “offensive” and rather than planning the execution long in advance – as argued by the prosecutor – the shooter was “temporarily outraged”, when his “suppressed emotions surfaced.”

The shooter’s lawyer told ERR that the defense team will appeal. “We cannot agree with the sentence because it is too lengthy.”

Editor: S. Tambur