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

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Blackstone Academy are up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT

an entertaining Mystery/Thriller novel.

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SCARY CLOWN: This 19-Year-Old Was Just Joking

BLOG POST #99Hello. I appreciate you taking the time to read my post. Life is busy, so I’ll keep this short.

Do you know what happens during the day while children are at school? Schools teach English, Math, Science, and… students eat lunch… they play and socialize…

Every Saturday, I post about the seedier side of what happens at and related to school. Through knowledge and awareness, parents can make schools safer. See something – Say something goes for parents and communities too.

BLOG POST #99: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving a high school graduate.

Do you know what you post on social media could get you arrested – and sent to prison?

When You Post on Social Media, You Can’t Take it Back

You may remember around Halloween in 2016 the news reported a scary clown phenomenon? People wore clown masks and went on crime sprees. If you use social media, you may have seen #CLOWNPOCALYPSE2016.

The specific teenager I’m writing about made threats  against his alma mater on Facebook and Instagram. His Facebook page had photos and videos of menacing looking clowns wielding weapons. He posted statements like “skool gonna get hit (tomorrow) say your blessing” and “bout to kill.”

These types of threats are taken seriously by law enforcement, and if you make a threat against somebody, there’s a good chance you’re going to get arrested,” the police chief said.

Three Pranks That May Send You to Jail

An 18-year-old can make legal decisions without a parent’s consent or join the military without parent’s consent.

And when they commit crimes thought to be fun or jokes, they’re also subject to adult consequences.

In most states, as legal adults, young people don’t realize dressing up in costume and chasing someone with a weapon, even to just scare them, can constitute a criminal threat.

Or that toilet papering and egging someone’s home can result in criminal charges.

They also aren’t aware if they enter someone else’s property with intent to damage that property (i.e., throw eggs, toilet paper) they may also face criminal trespass charges.

There’s More to Social Media Than Socializing

People seem to feel empowered when anonymously sharing on social media, whether it’s a post, a product review, or a comment.

Children and young adults are oblivious to the possibility their parent may see what they’ve shared.

Young adults have no concept that law enforcement might be perusing social media and see something they consider a viable threat or a possible witness to a crime. I’m fairly certain the young man in this post never thought he’d be arrested for his social media ‘joke’.

The 19-year-old subject of this post was arrested on suspicion of making threats against his former high school.

He said he was just joking.

He pleaded no contest to one felony count of making criminal threats and was immediately sentenced to 16-months in prison.

One day he was a cocky young adult spouting off on social media and the next he was a convicted felon on his way to a state prison.

If you found this post interesting, you’ll want to read this one also “What happens when a teenager makes threats on social media?”

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

 

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Available at Amazon

UNKNOWN THREAT

Book 1 in the School Marshal Series

An entertaining Mystery/Thriller novel

Idle Threat

idle-threat-fbBLOG POST #85: Now days, it’s too easy and convenient for a child frustrated with school or friends to lash out on social media. Gone are the days of saying “I hate you” today and “I’m sorry” tomorrow.

This week, I’m sharing research on several similar cases about students making threats against schools in one town in the course of a few weeks.

A 12-year-old female sent a text message to another student threatening to bomb her middle school. Real threat or not, she was arrested.

Juvenile Court Judge Kirby said. “Now I have a 12-year-old girl in lockup who’s never been in trouble before. It’s heartbreaking.”

The 12-year-old was sentenced to write an apology letter, serve 25 hours of community service, and pay restitution for costs resulting from the school evacuation. She was also ordered to continue receiving mental health counseling.

A 14-year-old male was arrested and charged with failure to report a crime. He had knowledge of who made a bomb threat but didn’t report it until after the threat was made and the school evacuated. He served 14 days in a juvenile detention.

The United States Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education published an interesting report on “Prior Knowledge of Potential School-Based Violence”. If you’d like to read more about this, here’s the report: prior-knowledge

Three unrelated threats to bomb or shoot people at the high school resulted in the arrest of two males, one 14, the other 15 and one female age 14, all and spent time in juvenile detention.

A 17-year-old male jokingly posted on social media he was going to use real ammunition in his high school’s  Nerf Wars game where students shoot each other with foam bullets. Joke or not, he was arrested.

The 17-year-old was sentenced to 20 days in juvenile detention, 100 hours of community service, a fine of $100 plus court costs, and ordered to complete the school year at a detention center.

Here’s a related post you may have missed: Think Before You Post

What are your thoughts on how parents and schools can teach children the seriousness of their actions when making idle threats on social media? Do you know of a school crime that you feel others should be made aware of – send me an email and we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

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BOMB THREAT GOD

BOMB THREAT GOD FBThis week I’ve chosen to write about a young man who could be any parent’s son. He was no longer a high school student; he doesn’t know what to do with himself, except play video games. Maybe he’s bored, as many youths say so frequently these days. He’s adept at using his computer. So he decides to use those computer skills and all that free time to become a computer “hacker”, and because “you can’t catch a hacker”—his words, not mine.

Adult consequences for cyber-crimes are not exclusively for adults; youths under the age of 18 are also tried and sentenced as adults for multi-jurisdictional cyber-crimes. It’s time to have a serious chat with your children. Children need to understand that they cannot hide when it comes to cyber-crimes; their future is at stake if they think they can.

This 19-year-old’s crime spree ran the course of approximately eight months. It was reported that the 19-year-old found some of his targets through online gaming. He used anonymous emails and Twitter names in addition to Internet-based phone accounts in an attempt to commit his crimes so as not to be caught.

He first called the police department in a small town 1,000 miles and four states away from his hometown. He made an anonymous “SWAT” call. He said he’d taken hostages in a home and had already wounded one. If he didn’t receive a duffel bag with a million dollars he was going to kill both hostages and burn their house down. Police were dispatched and found the crime to be a hoax.

Swatting: Calls with the intent that they would result in an emergency police response to a residence, ideally involving a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.

A few months later he called in a bomb threat at the high school in the same small town. He used the initials of a local 17-year-old boy who attended the high school. He said the bomb was set to detonate in one hour. Of course, the school was evacuated. The police determined the threat to be a hoax.

After the bomb threat hoax, the budding computer hacker sent a direct message via Twitter to the 17-year-old in the small town and said “NICE BOMB THREAT”. Later he sent a direct message to the 17-year-old and another claiming responsibility for the bomb threat.

The next day he called the same small town police department with another hostage “SWAT” call found to be a hoax. He sent the local 17-year another direct Twitter message advising him he’d been “Swatted”.

The day after the swatting hoax, he made another call to the small town police department again using the local teen’s initials and said he was going to shoot up the high school in thirty minutes and kill everyone. He posted on Twitter the local boy’s initials and that he was going to shoot up the school.

A few weeks later he claimed he had placed a bomb at the small town high school and all survivors would be killed by a strike team on their way to the school.

Then another Swat call to the same small town police department trying to sound like a child stating there was a home invasion and his mother had been shot.

Next, he left a voicemail message for one of the small town police officers stating he was the “Bomb Threat God” and that the officer better stop spreading rumors he was about to be caught because he was a hacker and you can’t catch a hacker. He said some extremely inappropriate comments to the officer and ended his message with him wanting to kill the officer’s family.

This pattern of behavior continued for a few more months, and then the local police turned the case over to the FBI. One day you think you’re an anonymous “hacker” living in the suburbs, possibly still living with your parents, and the next day you’re arrested by the FBI and transported to another state to face federal charges.

The defendant engaged in a pattern of harassing activity against several victims using the cloak of anonymity afforded by the Internet,” said Assistant United States Attorney Timothy C. Rank.

The 19-year-old pleaded guilty to calling in multiple false bomb threats, making harassing text messages, and making “swatting” phone calls, in which he falsely reported hostage situations. He was sentenced to 41-months in federal prison, followed by 3-years of ¹supervised release.

You can read the full FBI press release here: BOMB THREAT GOD

The invincible computer hacker along with more than 1,800 other criminals now resides in a low-security federal correctional institution. His release date is scheduled for May 2018.

United States Attorney Timothy C. Rank went on to say, “He wrought emotional havoc and caused the needless expenditure of public funds to respond to his destructive e-mails, tweets, and phone calls.”

What are your thoughts on this case? If you know of a crime that has taken place at a school that you feel others should be made aware of – email me and we can discuss the details.

¹United States Sentencing Commission – Federal Offenders Sentenced to Supervised Release: In 1984, as part of the Sentencing Reform Act (“SRA”) that created the federal sentencing guidelines system, Congress prospectively eliminated parole and established supervised release. Supervised release is a “unique” type of post-confinement monitoring that is overseen by federal district courts with the assistance of federal probation officers, rather than by the United States Parole Commission. A sentencing court is authorized (and, in some cases, required) to impose a term of supervised release in addition to a term of imprisonment. While on supervised release after reentry into the community following release from imprisonment, an offender is required to abide by certain conditions, some mandated by statute and others imposed at the court’s discretion. If an offender violates a condition, a court is authorized (and, in some cases, required) to “revoke a term of supervised release, and require the defendant to serve in prison all or part of the term of supervised release without credit for time previously served on post[-]release supervision….

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Think Before You Post

Photo of courtroomIn light of the horrendous act of killing that occurred in Orlando, Florida, this week I feel the need to soften the content of my post. This week I’m posting about two separate school crimes with serious consequences that any child has the potential to commit. If you have school-age children, especially middle school or high school age, please share these two examples of bad behavior with them.

I’m sure you’d agree with me, children are quite savvy when it comes to computers and the Internet. However, as cocky as children may be about their computer skills, they’re still children and their brains haven’t developed enough to allow them to believe that adults are smarter. This “smarter than adults” phase in life sometimes leads children to participate in anonymous cyber bullying and anonymous cyber threats—at least they believe they’ve concealed their identity when acting out via the Internet. Or there are the children who believe the “friends” who see what they’ve posted won’t say anything to anyone about the bullying or the threat. I’m sure children are quite surprised when law enforcement knocks on their parents’ door.

Student #1: Male, 17-years-old. He was upset with his school because he was required to repeat the 11th grade. On Instagram he wrote, “I’m not complaining, I’m just gonna shoot everybody up.”

He pleaded guilty to making a false threat of terrorism, a felony. He was sentenced to 270 days in the county jail, five years or probation, and was required to pay $294 in restitution.

Student #2: Male, 16-years-old. This boy was a loner, hadn’t made any friends at school and spent is lunch time in a bathroom stall. He did have friends on the Internet within a game he liked to play; at least he thought they were friends. The “friends” convinced him to make threats against his school.

He was arrested and charged with felony terrorism. He had no prior disciplinary problems at school. In court, he said he was afraid to not do as he was asked because he’d lose is online friendships. The felony charge could’ve resulted in a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a restitution payment of $110,000. Luckily for this teenager, the juvenile court judge recommended probation. The teenager also cooperated and assisted law enforcement. Teens in Texas, Boston, Canada, and the United Kingdom, were also arrested in conjunction with this case.

Children need to understand that there are serious consequences for making poor choices about what they do and say on the Internet. It was reported that Blair Babcock, a computer forensics agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it’s not uncommon for lonely teens to get online and seek friendship in the wrong places.

“People groom them (children). You (children) suddenly find yourself in a situation where you didn’t think you’d ever end up there, but the person has been telling you things you think you want to hear,” said Blair Babcock, a computer forensics agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Babcock went on to say children shouldn’t lock themselves away in their room or in the corner of the basement. He urged parents to have their children sit with the rest of the family when they chat with online friends.

Do a Google search for “student arrested for making terrorist threat”, you’ll be surprised at how many cases there are. Better yet, here’s a quick link for you to see for yourself: Threats

Do you know of student who was arrested for what they thought was a harmless prank? Share here on the website or email me if you know of a case you think others should hear about.