Wisconsin Student Shooter Sentenced to Life in Prison

BARABOO, Wis. – A judge sentenced 16-year-old Eric Hainstock to life in prison with a possibility of parole on Aug. 3 for shooting and killing his high school principal last September.

On September 29, 2006, the then-freshman walked through the doors of his high school with a loaded shotgun and a .22 revolver. A janitor managed to wrestle the shotgun from Hainstock, who then cocked the revolver and ordered Weston School Principal John Klang to go into his office to talk. When Klang tackled him from behind, Hainstock fired three shots into his body. Klang died in a Madison hospital shortly after.

Hainstock was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide on Aug. 2. First-degree murder convictions require life in prison, but judges are permitted to set parole eligibility dates. Sauk County Circuit Judge Patrick Taggart said Hainstock would be eligible for parole after 30 years.

Prosecutors had requested life in prison, arguing that Hainstock knew what he was doing that morning. After the sentencing, Hainstock’s father Shawn Hainstock insisted that his son regretted his actions. The defense had previously argued that Hainstock was a victim of abuse at school and brought loaded ammunition only with the desire to make people listen to him.

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