SANTA FE, Texas (FOX 26) — The trial of the Santa Fe High School mass shooting suspect will not start for at least another three months.
A district court judge in Galveston County announced more details of the timeline of court proceedings at a status conference for the alleged shooter on Monday morning.
It was a very emotional status hearing for family members of the people injured and killed in the Santa Fe mass shooting, who were in the courtroom.
The teen charged in the murder of ten people and injuring 13 others at Santa Fe High School in May 2018 appeared by live video feed in court on Monday.
“It is unnerving just knowing that he was there on the screen," said Flo Rice, a substitute teacher who was shot five times on that morning. She now walks with a cane.
"I’m concerned about the venue change, and we’re hoping that that’s not going to be something that’s gonna be out of Galveston county and impacting families who want to attend the trial,” added Flo.
Defense attorneys requested a change of venue earlier in January. A decision on whether to try the case outside of Galveston County is expected by the end of February.
"It’s obviously going to be very difficult to find people that haven’t been personally affected or at minimum, know somebody that has by these events, so obviously it would make sense to try to an unbiased and fair jury to look outside Galveston County," said the shooting suspect's attorney Nicholas Poehl.
In court on Monday, the judge granted nintey more days for evidence collection before setting a pre-trial and trial date.
Families of both the alleged shooter and his victims were in the courtroom on Monday.
One family ran out of the room in tears after the alleged shooter appeared on the video screen.
"Today was very intense with both families being in the courtroom and this is just the preliminaries of what we’re going to be going through when evidence starts to come out,” said Scot Rice, Flo's husband.
"My biggest concern is, I’d like to find how my wife actually died and I’d like to see the evidence, which I can’t see until after the trial," said Steve Perkins, whose wife was killed in the shooting. "It’s more for closure for me than anything else."
While court documents said the alleged shooter admitted to police that he acted alone in the shooting, his defense attorney says he is undergoing ongoing psychological evaluations and there is still a possibility he could plead not guilty by reason of insanity.
"He seems like he seemed since the beginning. He’s somewhat mystified by his surroundings and I’m not clear on what he understands and what he doesn’t, so I’m waiting for doctors to tell me."
The defense attorneys tell FOX 26 News that if the judge does grant a change of venue, the trial will remain in the state of Texas, but it will be moved to another county. It is unclear to which county it would moved.