Conspiracy ‘ringleader’ takes a plea

The then 16-year-old whom some might describe as a very troubled boy but whom County prosecutor Jim Camblos has described as the "ringleader" of a bombing conspiracy has taken a plea.

The boy, now 17, was headed to trial in January, but in exchange for pleading guilty yesterday in Albemarle Circuit Court to the original charges of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to blow up a schoolhouse, the youth will get some mental health treatment and eventually see his conviction reduced to communicating a threat.

Additionally, he'll be on probation until his 18th birthday but might stay out of jail as long as he doesn't violate terms of the agreement, according to various media accounts.

Yesterday's action means that up to three of the four charged teens may have taken pleas, so their criminal charges may all be resolved. (We can't be too sure, since the lid of secrecy has recently clamped down so hard that a dad got hit with a contempt charge for writing a letter to the school board.)

No bombs or specific plans were ever found, but the youths involved did make various statements– that would be used against them in court– about possible violence. They were all found guilty in juvenile court in March.

As reported previously, one teen's family decided to fight and won an acquittal from a jury in Circuit Court in mid-August. And with that victory for their 13-year-old, the parents are thinking about waging a civil lawsuit.