Madera High Teen Sentenced in Death Threats

April 23, 2008 8:41:28 PM PDT
The Madera high juvenile responsible for making Columbine like threats last November against fellow students was sentenced Wednesday.Behind closed doors at Madera County's juvenile courtroom a judge sentenced a 17-year old to three months probation for making death threats.

Last November several Madera High students told police a classmate was planning to kill. Investigators showed up to the student's house and discovered 15 rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. The juvenile was arrested and faced three criminal threat felonies. But in February the District Attorney dropped those charges in exchange for a "no contest" plea to misdemeanor possession of ammunition.

The judge put the boy under house arrest. The juvenile's attorney, Cathryn Hicks, said the fact her client suffers from Asperger's Syndrome (AS) a form of Autism affecting social reasoning and response skills, played a big role in Wednesday's sentencing.

"Did it have a part to play in this? Absolutely. Did the school district finally recognize that? Absolutely. Did the district attorney recognize that? Absolutely. Even the court realized that," said Hicks.

Under the probation the juvenile must meet with a counselor twice a week, be near one of his parents at all times and complete home schooling lessons taught by a Madera High teacher. Madera District Attorney Ernie LiCalsi said he wanted the teen to remain under house arrest during the probation but supports the judge's decision.

"Our whole goal is to get this kid the help he needs so that his safety is not jeopardizing the public safety," said LiCalsi.

And the juvenile will also have a curfew plus he's not allowed around any weapons or ammunition. The defense attorney said when they review her client's case in three months she'll ask the judge to take him off probation.


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