5 Kansas Teens Charged With Inciting Riots, Making Threats

Five teenage boys were charged Monday with threatening to carry out a shooting spree at their high school on the anniversary of the Columbine bloodbath.

Each was charged with incitement to riot and making a criminal threat.

A judge set bail at $50,000 for Charles New, 18, who was charged as an adult. The four others were charged as juveniles and ordered held for a May 3 hearing.

"These are serious allegations and they scared me as I read them," Judge Robert Fleming said.

The incitement charge carries to seven to 23 months in jail; the criminal threat charge is punishable by five to 17 months behind bars. The punishment is the same for adults and juveniles.

It would be premature to say whether more charges will be filed, said Deputy Attorney General Eric Rucker.

"It is a very fluid case," he said. "We have not ferreted out all the facts, but we are comfortable with the charges filed today."

Charged as juveniles were Robert Hunt, 17; Caleb Byrd and James Tillman, both 16; and Andrew Jaeger, 15.

Samuel Marsh, an attorney for Tillman, praised the attorney general's office for "not overreacting to hysteria" by filing harsher charges.

"The truth will come out" as the legal process runs its course, Marsh added.

The teenagers' families filled the courtroom. One family passed a package of tissues around, and another woman wailed after the bailiff handed the family some court papers before the hearing.

The teenagers were arrested Thursday — the seventh anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado — after a message about the alleged plot appeared on the Web site Myspace.com.

Sheriff Steve Norman said the teens planned to wear black trench coats and disable the school's camera system before starting the attack.