Opening statements to be heard Thursday in civil trial regarding 2013 Taft school shooting

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Jury selection is complete and opening statements are scheduled to be heard Thursday morning in the civil trial regarding the 2013 shooting at Taft Union High School.

The family of Bowe Cleveland, seriously wounded in the shooting, is suing the Taft Union High School District for damages. Their attorney, Daniel Rodriguez, is arguing the district ignored warning signs from the shooter, Bryan Oliver, Cleveland’s classmate.

Rodriguez has said he has documents, testimony and other evidence proving the school district had ample warning indicating Oliver wanted to shoot up the school.

Leonard Herr, the attorney representing the district, has said Oliver’s actions alone, not the school facility or safety measures, resulted in the shooting.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

Oliver was 16 when he entered a Taft Union High science classroom the morning of Jan. 10, 2013, armed with a shotgun. He shot and seriously injured Cleveland, and fired at but missed another student, Jacob Nichols.

Oliver was persuaded to drop the shotgun and was taken into custody.

Cleveland suffered major injuries and in the following years underwent more than 30 surgeries.

Prosecutors charged Oliver with two counts of attempted murder and argued at trial he intended to kill Cleveland and Nichols as retaliation for perceived bullying against him. He faced a life term if convicted.

A mistrial was declared Dec. 17, 2014, after jurors were unable to reach a verdict.

A month later, Oliver pleaded no contest to two counts of unpremeditated attempted murder and was sentenced to 27 years and four months in prison.

Now 22, Oliver will be eligible for parole in January 2027, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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