Emotional sentencing hearing in violent school attack plot

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Two teens prepare to learn their fate in Cherokee County after pleading guilty to plotting an attack on students and teachers at Etowah High School.

Deputies arrested 19-year old Alfred Dupree and 18-year-old Victoria McCurley in October of 2017 -- stopping their elaborate plan that consisted of a kill list, journals, and a map.

In court last week, McCurley even admitted she told investigators their goal was to kill more people than the Las Vegas mass shooting.

In an emotional sentencing hearing, Monday afternoon witnesses largely presented by the defense shed light on the wavering mental health of Alfred Dupree and Victoria McCurley. In a particularly poignant moment, Dupree’s aunt recalled asking him once about markings on his neck. Amy Dupree Adams said he told her it was from choking himself.

The aunt said she partially blames herself for Dupree’s actions adding she should have embraced his Asperger’s diagnosis earlier.

“We believed he would just kind of grow out of it, I kept waiting for this magical 18th birthday where he was going to be grown and mature,” his aunt said.

Similarly, Detective Andy Farmer with the Cherokee County School Police shared concerns regarding McCurley’s mental state. McCurley said on Friday she wrote her own name on the kill list.

“During the entire time we talked to her, she talked about suicide. She told me, well, she told all of us, ‘I have a lot of demons,’ even talked about cutting herself to let the demons out,” said Det. Farmer.

The nearly five hours in court ended with a clinical psychologist.

The sentencing hearing will resume Tuesday morning.