Hainstock to be Tried as Adult

By: Brock Bergey Email
By: Brock Bergey Email

The Sauk County teen accused of killing his principal last fall will stand trial as an adult. Monday's decision is quite the victory for prosecutors. It means, if convicted, 16-year-old Eric Hainstock will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

The defense tried to get the case moved to juvenile court, based on what they call Hainstock's troubled home life. They say the teen deserves a second chance and that treatment is the answer, not incarceration.

However, after five days of testimony, the judge ruled due to the seriousness of the crime Hainstock should be tried as an adult.

He's accused of shooting and killing Weston School Principal John Klang last September.

After the hearing wrapped up, Klang's widow commented on the decision.

"We're basically satisfied that he is staying in adult court, we're not happy. If it would have gone the other way, we wouldn't have been outraged, we just would have moved on to the next stage. There's no good that comes out of this," says Sue Klang.

Hainstock is charged with first degree intentional murder.

A video taped statement from Hainstock was played during the hearing.

The defense says the teen never meant to hurt anyone, that he was only seeking attention.

"It was to bring those guns in. He told you, he told you, Judge, that on the video to make someone listen. He was grabbed, he freaked out. He told you that, Judge, he freaked out. He wanted someone to listen," says Rhoda Ricciardi, Hainstock's attorney.

Hainstock's father and stepmother, both of whom were criticized by the defense, were in the courtroom Monday. The father was visibly emotional following the judge's decision. However, he left before we had a chance to talk with him.

If the case had been moved to juvenile court, Hainstock would have been released in nine years when he is 25.

As for what's next, a pre-trial conference is scheduled for next week.

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