Bomb plot fizzles out?
So was there a serious plot by four teenagers to blow up Western Albemarle and Albemarle High schools? Judge Susan Whitlock ruled March 28 that the public doesn't need to know, presumably to protect the privacy of the teens– even though their identities are pretty widely known.
After the hoopla of a February 3 police press conference announcing the alleged threat, authorities remained mum on exactly what evidence led to the arrests and filing of felony conspiracy charges against three teens. A fourth– an eighth grader at Jouett Middle School– was arrested at school February 15, and all boys have been incarcerated at Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention since.
Police cited chat room chatter, and the confiscation of three computers, two guns and other materials, which one of the parents of the boys said included firecrackers and kitchen matches that were kept in his locked gun safe.
A 16-year-old Western Albemarle student pleaded guilty to two felony counts and will be sentenced April 5. But the 15-year-old from Albemarle High and the two 13-year-olds from Jouett Middle School were waging a defense against the charges in the daylong trial Tuesday that appeared to have concluded, based on reports that closing arguments were going on late in the afternoon.
Were they found guilty? Did authorities overreact in the post-Columbine world where kids pointing fingers at each other and saying "bang" can be kicked out of schools? Were they just being stupid kids mouthing off? Is this really the best time to gag the flow of information?