Student accused of bomb threat lectured, released on probation

Ninth-grader admitted disrupting his high school

May 28, 1999|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

The third of three Glen Burnie High School students accused in a bomb plot was released from juvenile jail yesterday -- even though this student pleaded guilty to disrupting school activities. The first two boys have yet to be tried.

Anne Arundel County Juvenile Master Erica J. Wolfe placed the ninth-grader on probation and ordered him to do 120 hours of community service. She also gave him a stern talking-to about the seriousness of making bomb threats, especially in the tense days after the shootings in Littleton, Colo. The probation can continue until he is 21, though he or juvenile authorities may ask to end it sooner.

In threats made April 28 at school, the 14-year-old mentioned Columbine High School and told another student that he was on a "hit list" and that he and other students would use bombs, not guns, said Assistant State's Attorney Michael Bergeson. The threats came amid heightened worries about school violence around the country. Frightened students went to administrators. When confronted by authorities, the 14-year-old identified at least one of the other two boys charged.

"Quite frankly, I think you took advantage of those circumstances," the judge said.

The Sun does not name juveniles charged with crimes.

The student's lawyer said the boy has hearing and speech problems and was bullied by other students. Psychological tests show him to be smart. His speech, while not crisp, was easily understandable in court, as he told the judge he understood the terms of his probation.

"Maybe you thought instead of being picked on you would be feared and respected," Wolfe said.

It was not known if the student would return to Glen Burnie High School, as have the other two students released in the past week from the Waxter Children's Center in Laurel. Attorney Peter M. Levin told Wolfe the student's parents did not want him to return to that school.

Charged with making threats and conspiracy, the student entered an Alford plea to the lesser charge of disrupting school, admitting that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him but not admitting guilt. The other charges were dropped.

The two other students, ages 14 and 15, are charged with possessing bomb components and conspiracy. His link to them was unclear. Bergeson said police are still investigating whether the three had a relationship. But Levin said his client barely knew the other boys and probably was repeating what he had heard at school.

Fliers warning of doom on May 10 at Glen Burnie High were circulating there, though that date was also named in threats in other schools in the Baltimore area.

In searches of the homes of the other two students, police found such things as a hollow old grenade, bomb-making directions printed from an Internet site, BB pellets, a threatening flier, and charcoal.

Pub Date: 5/28/99

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