Gunslinger At The Middle School

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

School violence, when it takes a deadly turn, is hard to comprehend. For as long as there have been schools, there have been fights between students. But school violence now happens far too frequent.

BLOG POST #121: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving middle school students.

Because it was an intensely cold winter morning, the middle school started two hours late.

Better To Have Stayed Home

The 14-year-old student skipped his morning classes to prepare for his afternoon assault.

Before leaving for school, he armed himself with his father’s fully loaded weapons; rifle, revolver and semiautomatic pistol. He strapped to his chest and waist three belts of additional ammunition and packed a speed loader for the revolver.

He removed the inside pocket on a long black trench coat to conceal the rifle as he walked to school. The news reported he looked like a gunslinger.

Armed and ready, he entered his fifth-period algebra class and shot his intended target, a classmate who did not survive. It’s unknown why he targeted this boy.

The next two victims, two more classmates, were shot as they dropped to the floor to crawl under their desks, one survived with extensive injuries.

When the teacher cried out, “No, no,” he shot her as well, she also did not survive.

That Which Does Not Kill Us Makes Us Stronger – Friedrich Nietzsche

Upon hearing the gunshots, a P.E. Teacher ran into the classroom. He dove toward the injured teacher. The shooter told the P.E. Teacher to stand up, or he would shoot another student. He did and then talked the shooter into allowing a few students to assist the injured teacher out of the classroom along with a diabetic student.

The student who survived went on to become involved in Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE).

Nowhere To Run

Police tried to hostage negotiate with the shooter which resulted in escalating his agitation.

Deciding he needed coverage in case there were snipers he told the P.E. Teacher to stand near him and put the end of the rifle in his mouth. When the heroic teacher appeared to comply, the shooter wasn’t expecting the teacher to grab the gun and pin him against the wall. He then told the students to run.

The police stormed the classroom and handcuffed the shooter.

Juvenile Or Adult?

The shooter’s case was sent to adult court, where he pleaded insanity.

At the trial, the defense team had an expert testify the shooter suffered from depression and bipolar disorder. The prosecution also had an expert testify he suffered from dysthymic disorder, hyperactivity, and clinical depression. He was taking Ritalin at the time of the shooting.

The 14-year-old troubled boy was found guilty on two counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder, one count of first-degree attempted murder, and 16 counts of aggravated kidnapping.

Without Parole: With Parole

He was sentenced to serve two life sentences plus an additional 205 years without the possibility of parole.

However, in 2012, a U.S. Supreme Court ruled people younger than 16 could not receive life sentences without parole. Twenty-one years after the shooting, a judge resentenced him to 189 years.

Worth mentioning: Juvenile court makes a decision to keep a case or move a case to adult court based on the best interest of the juvenile or the public, and taking into account eight standards set out in Kent v. the United States also known as the ‘Kent Factors.’

(1) The seriousness of the charged offense and whether protection of the community requires prosecution in adult court.

(2) Whether the offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, premeditated or willful manner.

(3) Whether the offense was against persons or property.

(4) The prosecutive merit of the case.

(5) Whether the defendant had an adult accomplice.

(6) The defendant’s sophistication and maturity.

(7) The defendant’s prior record.

(8) The prospects for adequate protection of the public and rehabilitation of the juvenile in the juvenile system.

My heart goes out to all families who have suffered because of school violence. And my sincere condolences go to those who have lost a loved one.

What do you think about this case? Your relevant comments about this post or any of the other posts are always welcome on the website.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thank you for reading and caring about children!

-Robin

Link to Amazon

Find out what the students, parents, and staff at

Blackstone Academy are up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT, an entertaining Mystery/Thriller novel.

Available at Amazon

Two Troubled Teens’ Mass Shooting Plot

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #114Before the Internet and social media, teenage girls wrote their deepest and darkest thoughts in a private diary or a journal.

Nowadays when a teenager writes their deepest and darkest thoughts on social media platforms, they seem to forget their words are open to the world.

In this case, both methods of expression backfired for the two girls involved.

Thank you for your continued support, for your interest in my research, and most importantly for caring about children.

BLOG POST #114: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving two 16-year-old high school girls.

After the mass killing at Columbine, many law enforcement agencies and schools implemented a system for anonymous crime tips called Text-A-Tip.

Someone used the Text-A-Tip system to notify authorities about the claims of death and destruction two girls were spouting.

Close to the same time the tip was received, a peer told authorities what they received from a friend (one of the girls named in the Text-A-Tip) via the social media platform, SnapChat. Messages like; “I’m gonna kill everyone here lol” and “I’m gonna shoot up the school.”

A Troubled Teen’s Pain

A Children’s Hospital evaluated the girl who sent the SnapChat messages. A few days later, her mother called authorities after discovering journals detailing a planned attack at her daughter’s high school.

Dear God, maybe if you’d made me pretty inside and out I’d be like sugar and spice…”

Here’s a page from one of the girl’s journal. The troubled teen’s pain screams from the page. Journal Page

The Plot Develops

During the investigation, a Tumblr account and Weebly page were found featuring the girls’ journal writings, poetry and a mini-biography with references to school shootings.

The girls had researched female gunmen, how to buy a gun, how to make a bomb, and made a crude explosive device that failed to explode.

The girls had drawn maps of the school showing student movement and the schedule of a police officer assigned to the facility.

One girl’s plot included killing her mother and sister. Both girls planned to kill themselves after they had killed others.

A Threat Is A Crime

Both girls were arrested and charged as adults with felony counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

One of the girls pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in adult court, and guilty to solicitation to commit murder in juvenile court. The judge sentenced her to three years in a youth incarceration facility, and four years supervised probation. If she completes the sentence, her adult felony conviction could be sealed.

At the sentencing, the judge said, “It is a serious matter when someone puts down in writing that they want to die, that they want to kill others.”

On her behalf, the other girl’s attorney has filed a reverse-transfer of her criminal case from adult trial court to juvenile court. The outcome for her is still to be determined.

Marital troubles in both homes playing a role in the girls’ depression. One girl’s parents were divorced, the other girl’s parent are still together. An unhappy home isn’t to blame, but is often linked to children who act out.

What do you think about this case? Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

If you found this case interesting, you’ll also want to read this post: When A Teenager Makes Threats On Social Media

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to Amazon

Find out what the students, parents, and staff at

Blackstone Academy are up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT, an entertaining Mystery/Thriller novel.

Available at Amazon

A Plan To Murder Bullies

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #110Whether it’s a case of school violence or about bullying, the two crimes are often connected. When bullying goes unreported it becomes he said/she said and too often the victim becomes the criminal.

In my opinion, parents and grandparents should continuously talk about bullying with children and stress it’s okay to speak up, in fact, it’s imperative.

BLOG POST #110: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving two high school boys and their plan to kill.

Two boys, a 14 and a 15-year-old made a plan to kill faculty and students at their high school.

Loose Lips Foil Plans

Thankfully, kids talk. The two boys had to have said something to someone who took their intentions seriously and told the school administration. The school administration detained the two boys and searched their backpacks.

Found in the backpacks were detailed plans and evidence showing the two had conducted surveillance of specific staff members to know where they would be at the time of the event.

Vigilance Required In The Lunchroom

Both boys’ homes were searched. The boys had gathered fireworks, gunpowder, and fuses to make pipe bombs. They had planned to hide a duffel bag at the school filled with guns, ammo, bombs, gas masks, and chloride gas to be readily available. The attack was to take place during lunch time.

It was a plan of revenge for being bullied by staff members and classmates.

From my research, attacks are often planned to take place at lunch. It’s my assumption the targeted kids are expected to be together at that time. Whereas at any other time of the school day, the kids would be in classes.

Upon entering the lunch hall, the first victim would have been the resource officer (campus security). The principal was on the list as well. Knowing the school would go into lockdown mode, they planned to bring an ax to bust into locked classrooms.

Formative Years Lost

While being transported to the law enforcement center, the older boy told an officer he was glad they were stopped before anything happened.

Both teens pleaded no contest to the charge of conspiracy to commit capital murder. No contest in juvenile court is the same as guilty in adult court.

At the sentencing hearing, the principal asked for a “very severe penalty,” contending the teen’s actions “created fear, anxiety, and disruptions for thousands of students and staff.”

The judge sentenced both boys to serve three years and nine months in juvenile custody, followed by three years of aftercare.

If you found this case interesting, you’ll also want to read, Planned Attack at the Middle School, where a 12-year-old had a similar plan.

What do you think about this case? Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

 

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to Amazon

Find out what the students, parents, and staff at

Blackstone Academy are up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT

an entertaining Mystery/Thriller novel.

Available at Amazon

When Bullying Turned Deadly

Blog Post #95

Thank you taking the time to read my post. Time is precious and we all have few minutes to spare. I try to keep my posts short.

Does it seem like bullying is out of control or is it just getting more press time? Either way, it needs to stop!

Armed with knowledge and determination, parents can make schools safer.

BLOG POST #95: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving several high school students.

Girl High School Students are Bullied More Often than Boys

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2015, 24.8% female high school students reported being bullied while at school, 15.8% of their male counterparts.

Boys Can Be Just as Mean as Girls

The victim was 16, an honor roll student, a basketball player, and a Junior ROTC cadet. His first job was at 14. He bought his first car, a BMW, with his money.

During his sophomore year, he gained weight. Students began to bully and tease him. He started skipping classes, his grades dropped, and he became truant.

Teenagers Have Underdeveloped Coping Skills

Rather than seeking treatment from the therapy his family had arranged he self-medicated with marijuana. He went from an outgoing teenager who always laughed about something and had lots of friends, to the kind of teenager who commanded respect from his former bullies.

There was a disagreement between the 16-year-old and another teenager. The other teen asked his two older brothers to help him ambush and rob the 16-year-old. The 16-year-old was lured away from school on the pretense of a drug deal. He went to a path, named ‘The Cut,’ which many kids used to walk from a nearby neighborhood, where they could park for free, to the school. The school had pay-to-park lots.

The older boys jumped the 16-year-old from behind and shot him six times. The victim fell to the ground where he was rolled over and shot again in the head, execution style. The 20-year-old gunman was arrested and later pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. Two of the three other teens involved were charged with Conspiracy to Commit a Felony.

The county attorney said, “When you get involved in the drug culture, anything can happen, including this.”

Action or Reaction? You Can’t Take it Back

The 20-year-old was sentenced to 75-years in prison with 25-years suspended. The 20-year-old did accept responsibility for his actions and gave a statement at his sentencing. In part, he said, “To my mother and [the victim’s] mother, I owe my greatest apologies to both of you. There is no excuse for my actions. I wish I could take it all back.”

What are your thoughts on this case? Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

 

Link to Amazon

Available at Amazon

UNKNOWN THREAT

Book 1 in the School Marshal Series

An entertaining Mystery/Thriller novel

Last Day of School

last-day-of-school-fbBLOG POST #88: Do you remember your last day of 7th grade? I don’t. This week, I’m sharing some of my research on a young man who will never forget his last day of 7th grade.

Early on the last day of school, the 13-year-old, mild mannered and likable honor roll student gave a bouquet of flowers to a girl he liked. Later, he and a friend were suspended for the rest of the day for their involvement in a water balloon fight. He left the school angry with the counselor for suspending him.

He went home and retrieved a .25 caliber handgun he’d stolen from his grandfather’s home the previous weekend. Determined to say goodbye to the girl he liked, he hopped on his bicycle, and rode back to school. He knocked on the classroom door. When the teacher opened the door, the teen asked to speak with the girl. The teacher unaware of the suspension calmly told him to go back to class.

The 13-year-old shot the teacher in the head and then ran from the classroom brandishing his weapon at another teacher on his way outside. He was arrested without resistance and charged as an adult. A jury found him guilty of second-degree murder for killing the teacher and aggravated assault with a firearm for pointing the weapon at the other teacher as he fled.

In closing arguments, the Assistant State Attorney said, “This is not the act of a child. This is the act of a person determined to get what he wants at all cost.”

His sentence was 33-years in state prison with credit for time served to await his trial.

At the sentencing, his mother blamed herself for creating a negative home environment for her son. A family consumed by domestic violence and alcoholism.  To make matters worse, she had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Worth mentioning: While in prison, he’s earned his GED, and law clerk and paralegal certifications. Eight years into his 33-year sentence, his mother died.

What do you think about this case? I didn’t get the sense the teen planned the shooting; it was more a reaction to not getting what he wanted. But, the last day of school was on a Friday, so why did he steal his grandfather’s gun the weekend before?

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

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