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Attorney General Janet Reno said today the Justice Department is reviewing if federal charges can be brought against the two boys accused of killing four girls and a teacher in a sniper attack at an Arkansas school.

"What we're doing is going through all the various federal statutes to see what might be effective. At this point, with respect to both, they could be charged under certain federal crimes as juveniles," Ms. Reno said at her weekly news briefing.

The two boys accused in the attack Tuesday in a schoolyard in Jonesboro, Ark., appeared in Juvenile Court in Arkansas Wednesday.

Ms. Reno said officials in the Justice Department's Criminal Division had been in discussions with Paula Casey, the U.S. attorney in Arkansas, about the legal issues surrounding the shooting.

"The question remains about how long the jurisdiction might be continued and whether they can be charged as adults," Ms. Reno said.

Kent Markus, one of her top aides, later told reporters that under federal law the 11-year-old boy, Andrew Golden, could only be charged as a juvenile but that the 13-year-old, identified by relatives as Mitchell Johnson, could possibly be charged as an adult.

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