We also received official court documents, including procedural transcripts, psychiatric reports, and other materials entered into evidence. It was clear that, three years after the shooting, people’s memories of what occurred were clouded, making it difficult to rely on the interviews to piece together a clear narrative. We benefited enormously from having access to the complete police investigative file, whose several thousand pages included summaries of witness interviews, signed depositions, Andrew’s writings, evidence inventories, and other useful material. This file was provided to us by a source outside the Pennsylvania State Police. We also reviewed media reports, but after discovering several inaccuracies in those accounts, we relied on other sources for basic facts about the case. To provide background on Edinboro and the General McLane School District, we consulted a mix of census data, town records, school and police reports, and town-related web sites.
The basic facts of the case are beyond dispute (Box 3-1). On Friday evening, at approximately 9:40 p.m., April 24, 1998, Andrew Jerome Wurst, age 14, shot and killed science teacher John J. Gillette, age 48, at Nick’s Place, a banquet hall located just south of Parker Middle School on Route 99. The event, which Gillette had helped plan, had drawn about 240 students. The theme fit the occasion: “Had the Time of My Life.”
BOX 3-1Incident Timeline of Events: April 24, 1998