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Sauk County Circuit Judge Patrick Taggart sentences Eric Hainstock to life in prison for shooting death his principal in school

The court sentenced 16-year-old Eric Hainstock to life in prison with the possibility of parole for killing his school pricipal.

Hainstock was convicted a day earlier of the first-degree intentional homicide of Weston Schools Principal John Klang last September.

Sauk County Circuit Judge Patrick Taggart said Hainstock would be eligible for parole in 30 years. He also urged the state's Department of Corrections to place him in a juvenile center.

"I do believe you can be rehabilitated," the judge told Hainstock, who showed no emotion as the sentence was read.

Life in prison is mandatory in first-degree murder convictions, but judges are allowed to grant parole eligibility dates. Hainstock had waived a pre-sentence investigation.

Prosecutors had asked for a life sentence. District Attorney Pat Barrett argued that Hainstock, then a 15-year-old high school freshman, knew what he was doing when he went to school with guns and ammunition on the morning of Sept. 29. The school is located just outside Cazenovia in the bluffs and ridges about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northwest of Madison.

Hainstock's attorney, Rhoda Ricciardi, said her client was emotional and immature and never meant to kill Klang. She found him watching the children's cartoon "SpongeBob SquarePants" before his sentencing Friday morning.

"There is very little thought to anything he does," Ricciardi said.

Hainstock went to school the day of the shooting armed with his father's shotgun and .22 revolver. He brought dozens of extra rounds of ammunition.

A janitor wrestled the shotgun from Hainstock, but the boy evaded teachers, drew the revolver and went down the hall.

He ran into Klang, who tackled him. Hainstock shot Klang three times in the scuffle. Klang managed to disarm Hainstock before another teacher and two students arrived to hold him down.

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