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School shooting linked to gay abuse

Tony Grew May 2, 2007
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School shooting linked to gay abuse

A teenage boy accused of shooting his school principal has pleaded not guilty to first degree murder.

Eric Hainstock, a 16-year-old from Wisconsin, will claim he has been the victim of persistent homophobic abuse at school.

He was allegedly upset that Weston High School’s principal, John Klang, had done nothing to stop other students from teasing him about his sexuality.

The prosecution say that on 29th September 2006 Hainstock, then 15, went to the school before class armed with a handgun and a rifle.

A janitor took the rifle off him after he pointed it at a teacher.

A confrontation and struggle with Mr Klang ensued, and the principal was shot three times. He died from his wounds later that day.

Hainstock told police that other pupils called him “fag” and “faggot” regularly.

Last month Sauk County Circuit Judge Patrick Taggart ruled that Hainstock would stand trial as an adult. If convicted he faces life in jail.

Defence lawyers intend to portray him as an immature boy who faced serious abuse at home and at school.

He was attending special classes for pupils with emotional and behavioural problems.

He had been living with his abusive father who faced charges for child abuse a few years ago.

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