A Joplin teenager was sentenced to ten years in state custody today for firing an assault rifle in school and threatening his principal in October of 2006.

Thomas White, who was 13 at the time of the incident and a seventh grader at Memorial Middle School, took an assault rifle to the school and fired it into the ceiling. He then turned the gun on Principal Steve Gilbreth and pulled the trigger, but the gun jammed.

White, who will be 17 in December, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree assault and one count of armed criminal action in June. White was sentenced to ten years on each of the three charges. Those sentences will run concurrently (at the same time.)

Earlier this year, a state psychiatrist found White mentally incompetent to assist in his defense, however in May a judge ordered a second evaluation.

The earliest that White could be considered for parole would be when he turns 18. He has been in a facility that is a jail and a psychiatric hospital for children since the incident occurred.

If White is denied parole, the court will have to decide if he will be sent to an adult prison because the facility that he is at does not keep offenders past the age of 21.

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