ITALY, Texas - Prosecutors say the 16-year-old teen who walked into the Italy High School cafeteria and shot a student had a pattern of aggressive behavior dating back to when he was 13 years old.
An Ellis County judge ruled on Tuesday that Chad Padilla will stand trial as an adult.
Investigators say Chad shot 16-year-old Noelle Jones six times inside the cafeteria at Italy High School in January. He then chased her outside where she collapsed on the floor. Prosecutors say the violent attack was caught on school surveillance video.
Chad is being held here in Dallas County in a special section for juveniles until Thursday when he turns 17. He’ll then be transferred back to Ellis County and booked as an adult on six felony charges.
Meanwhile, the victim's mother says her daughter is still undergoing physical therapy.
During a hearing on Monday, investigators revealed Chad had seven behavioral issues while at Italy High School, including two violent acts against a female student. There were also several occasions where he was asked to leave class to "cool down."
“We're fortunate the crimes didn't result in greater harm then they did in light of his troubling past,” said Ellis County District Attorney Patrick Wilson.
Prosecutors will have to address Chad’s extensive mental health history during the criminal trial which will include 1,000 pages of medical records. Chad’s father testified that he sought treatment for his son since he was 7 years old.
“In the adult system, there may be an incredible sympathy factor down the road jurors may have for him,” Wilson said. “So we're going to have to consider all of those dynamics as we prepare this case and go forward.”
Criminal defense attorney Bree West is not affiliated with this case. She says Chad’s age at the time of the shooting could help his case.
“From a defense perspective, you want to say this is a kid and we shouldn't give up on them,” she said. “We shouldn't say because they committed this heinous act they need to be thrown away as a person.”
Noelle’s mother, Georgia Lee Jones, testified at Chad’s certification hearing on Tuesday. She says her daughter was shot six times, hitting her in the neck, arm and abdomen.
Noelle just turned 16 years old last month. In a message to FOX 4, Georgia Lee said that Noelle is still struggling mentally.
“She is strong and has an amazing counselor. So with God's help, she will get past this,” Georgia Lee said. “These four months have been a challenge, but God has a plan."
Wilson says it's possible his office could offer Chad a plea deal. But first, he'd have to talk to the victim's family to see if that's even something they'd want him to consider.
There is no word on when Chad is due back in court.