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Mother of younger suspect in STEM School shooting recounts years of abuse by boy's father

That suspect and his co-defendent are accused in the May 7 shooting that ended in the death of Kendrick Castillo.

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo — The mother of one of the suspects in the STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting said she endured years of abuse by the boy's father during her testimony Wednesday.

It was the third day of a court hearing for 16-year-old Alec McKinney and the first day jurors heard from a witness for the prosecution - a mother of one of the students who was shot that day.

McKinney and his co-defendant, 19-year-old Devon Erickson, are accused in the May 7 shooting that ended in the death of 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, who is lauded as a hero for joining other classmates to rush one of the two gunmen. Eight others were also shot. 

RELATED: 'We need to be more like him': Kendrick Castillo remembered as selfless, tenacious at celebration of life service

RELATED: 1 student killed, 8 others injured when classmates open fire at STEM School Highlands Ranch

During a preliminary hearing on Monday, the judge ruled there was enough evidence for the case to go to trial. 

Both McKinney and Erickson are charged with 46 separate counts, including two counts of first-degree murder, one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and 31 counts of attempted first-degree murder.

McKinney is currently being tried as an adult in the case. 

RELATED: Younger suspect in STEM School shooting was suspended for giving student prescription meds, witness says

RELATED: Hearing continues Tuesday for 2nd STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting suspect

Morgan Mckinney testified on Wednesday that the first time Alec McKinney's father put his hands on her was during a trip to Albuquerque. 

She told the court that while Alec McKinney was in the car, Jose Luis Quintana took his hand, put it behind her head and slammed it on the dashboard.

She said that while her other children were easier to distract during times of abuse, Alec McKinney always knew what was going on and would ask her if she was okay.

Morgan McKinney also testified that she recently learned from Alec McKinney himself that he had been sexually abused when he was 7 years old. 

In 2015, Alec McKinney told his mother he needed to speak with someone as he was suffering from depression, Morgan McKinney said in court. She said she did not find him that help until two years later. 

John Castillo was present during the testimonies. He told 9NEWS he didn't feel empathy for Alec but did feel for the mother of the victim who testified Wednesday. 

Following Morgan McKinney's testimony, the prosecution called their first witness in the hearing. 

Maria Veronica Albertoni's son, Lucas Albertoni, was shot twice during the STEM school shooting. 

One bullet went through his right thigh and might be the same bullet, she said, that ended in his left thigh. The second bullet went through Lucas' shoulder. 

Albertoni said those bullets will be in Lucas' body for the rest of his life. The family was faced with a decision to take out the bullets and damage healthy tissues, or leave them in his body and later possibly face lead poisoning. 

"I'm still trying to find a way to go through it," said Albertoni. "We're not going to give in to fear."

Albertoni said the shooting is still very present, "it's really emotional."

The question still remains, whether or not Alec McKinney will be tried as a juvenile or an adult. John Castillo said he hopes McKinney is tried as an adult. 

Testimony is expected to go through the end of this week and possibly into next week. 

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