Principals testify as judge accepts Foster plea in Inskip shooting

6:19 PM, Oct 3, 2011   |    comments
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A Knox County judge formally accepted Mark Steven Foster's guilty plea in downtown Knoxville on Monday following the February 2010 shooting of two administrators.

Foster entered a guilty plea in the case and faces a maximum of 64 years in prison.  Monday, prosecutors entered evidence in court to get it on the record and allow victims to make victim impact statements. 

Following a rare hearing that set guidelines for media coverage, former Inskip Elementary Principal Elisa Luna and Assistant Principal Amy Brace testified Foster followed them into Luna's office at the end of a snow day and opened fire.  Both administrators remain working for Knox County Schools at different schools.

All witnesses testified Foster was calm, cool, and casual that day in school.  After classes were cut short because of snow coming in, Foster had a meeting with a number of school administrators about his contract.  The principals decided they would recommend Knox County not renew his contract.

Foster then left the office and returned within minutes.  He asked to meet with Luna alone.  She said she could not meet with him one-on-one and walked in her office.

At that point, Luna testified Foster followed her into her office and pulled out a gun.  He fired the .38 Special, hitting Luna in the back who then hit the floor.

"When I turned around, Elisa was curled up on the floor with her back to him and he had a gun in his right hand and he shot her again while she laid on the floor," Brace testified Monday.

Brace then said she moved toward Foster and pushed him.  Foster then turned the gun on her, shooting Brace in the head.  She says she then hit the floor and the next thing she remembers was Foster leaving the office.

"He turned around as he was walking out the door and aimed the gun at me, so I put my arm up and he shot me again," she said.

Other school staff testified sitting immediately outside Luna's office hearing the screams and gunshots.  One special education teacher testified she was hiding under a desk with a pair of children at her side.

Another told the details of her 911 call asking for help.

Both Brace and Luna are back teaching.  Brace spent several nights in the hospital with somewhere around 50 stitches in her head and scars still visible on her arm where the bullet entered and exited.

While the administrators appear in good spirits and have smiles on their faces much of the time, family members who testified Monday say there is no doubt that day in February 2010 has an impact on both women every day.

The marathon training Luna started before the shooting was interrupted.  She now uses an 84 foot ramp to get into her home and testified her husband serving as caretaker of the household is especially painful.

"I was a bulldozer pretty much," Luna said.  "I just don't recognize my life anymore."


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