COLUMBUS, Kan. – Two teens suspected of plotting an armed attack on their high school pleaded guilty Wednesday to reduced charges. Three others pleaded not guilty.
Charles "Coy" New, 18; Caleb Byrd, 16; and Andrew Jaeger, 15, pleaded not guilty to the same charge. The judge set a Nov. 27 trial date for New but no date was given for the juveniles.
The Riverton High School students had faced felony charges of incitement to riot and making a criminal threat, but the charges were reduced to misdemeanors on Monday.
They were arrested April 20 — the seventh anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado — after a message about an alleged shooting plot appeared on the Myspace.com social networking Web site. Authorities said the message included a discussion of the location of video cameras in the school and how to disable them.
Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Norman has said deputies investigating the threat in the tiny southeast Kansas town found guns, ammunition, knives and coded messages in the bedroom of one suspect.
District Judge Robert Fleming told the youths that when he read the original charges, he found them frightening and disturbing.
"Perhaps it wasn't as serious as it appeared a few months ago when it first surfaced," the judge said.