Archive for Wednesday, July 12, 2006

School plot suspects deemed juveniles

Bomb threat Tuesday closes courthouse

July 12, 2006

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— Two more teens charged in an alleged school shooting plot in Riverton will be tried as juveniles, a spokesman for the attorney general's office said Tuesday.

Judge Robert Fleming granted state prosecutors' request to withdraw a motion to prosecute Robert Hunt, 17, and James Tillman, 16, as adults.

On Monday, Fleming granted a similar request by Assistant Atty. Gen. Andrew Bauch to try Caleb Byrd, 16, and Andrew Jaeger, 15, as juveniles, pending completion of Jaeger's psychological evaluation.

A fifth suspect, Charles "Coy" New, 18, is being tried as an adult for his role in the alleged plot. A status hearing for the four juveniles is set for Aug. 9, the same day as New's preliminary hearing.

The five were arrested April 20 - the seventh anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado - after a message about an alleged plot to attack Riverton High School appeared on the Web site Myspace.com.

The courthouse in Columbus was evacuated as Tuesday's proceedings ended after a bomb threat was called in. The call was being investigated by the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department and the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Lt. John Eichkorn, spokesman for the patrol, said two bomb-detecting dogs were flown to Columbus to check the building but found no hazard. Eichkorn said the patrol ended its search around noon.

No information on the threat was available, but a dispatcher with the sheriff's office said the courthouse was expected to reopen for business today.

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