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Court rejects appeal of life sentence by killer convicted in 1998 Thurston High shooting

A 15-year-old shot and killed students Ben Walker and Mikael Nickolauson and wounded 26 others May 21, 1998, at Thurston High School, after killing his parents the day before. (Still from file video)

SALEM, Ore. — The man who as a teen killed 2 classmates and wounded 26 others in 1998 at Thurston High School has lost an appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court, where he had sought reduction of the 111-year sentence he received for the mass shooting.

The court ruled Thursday that the sentence does not violate the shooter's constitutional protection from cruel and unusual punishment, even though the law shields minors in many cases from life sentences. The shooter was 15 at the time of the shooting.

The shooter, now 35, killed students Ben Walker and Mikael Nickolauson and wounded 26 others May 21, 1998, at Thurston High School, after killing his parents William and Faith Kinkel the day before.

The episode was among the first school attacks in recent decades to seize the national spotlight, and predated prominent incidents around the country that spurred a broader focus on school violence.

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