GOLDEN, Colo. – A man accused of shooting and wounding two eighth-graders outside their middle school pleaded not guilty Monday by reason of insanity.
Bruco Strong Eagle Eastwood, 32, entered his plea in Jefferson County District Court, and was ordered to undergo a mental evaluation at the state Mental Health Institute in Pueblo. The evaluation would take at least 45 days.
Eastwood faces 15 charges, including attempted first-degree murder in the Feb. 23 shootings outside Deer Creek Middle School in south suburban Denver. Teachers tackled and restrained Eastwood until deputies arrived.
He faces decades in prison if convicted of the charges or an indefinite amount of time in a mental health institute if found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Before Eastwood accepted the plea, District Judge Christopher Munch told him that "commitment could be the rest of your life." Eastwood nodded that he understood.
Prosecutors are seeking access to observations of Eastwood's actions in jail and conversations between Eastwood and a psychologist made on a jail phone.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Jensen said during Monday's court hearing that because Eastwood is making his mental health an issue in the case, Eastwood's private medical records are no longer private.
The judge agreed and advised Eastwood that he would allow both sides to review certain conversations.
"You are the one who is placing your sanity at issue," Munch said.
At an earlier hearing, investigators testified that Eastwood told them he was poor, hadn't fit in with classmates when he attended Deer Creek in the early 1990s, and was subject to bullying and harassment.
He also mentioned to investigators that he had been hospitalized after reporting hearing voices from a television-rating box and that he had felt he was losing control over his life due to "forces taking over his psyche."
Among Eastwood's charges are two counts each of attempted murder after deliberation, attempted murder with extreme indifference, assault with a weapon, assault with extreme indifference and child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury. He also faces four counts of crime of violence and one count of unlawful possession of a weapon on school grounds.
The next hearing in Eastwood's case will be July 23.