Indiana Teen Accused of Plotting School Attack Charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder

A teenager accused of planning an attack on his northern Indiana high school was charged with a juvenile count of conspiracy to commit murder.

Prosecutors filed a petition Thursday alleging delinquency against the 16-year-old Penn High School student. It is the juvenile equivalent of a criminal charge in adult court, where conspiracy to commit murder would be the most serious class of felony.

The petition said the boy picked a date for the attack at Penn High in Mishawaka and researched the "Anarchist's Cookbook," buying a 9 mm handgun and making propane bombs. Authorities said the boy and an Ohio man exchanged e-mails last month and discussed mass murders at two high schools.

The boy's initial hearing was set for May 9 in St. Joseph County Juvenile Court, which handles cases for people age 17 and younger. Prosecutors say they expect to decide by then whether to ask that the case be moved to adult court.

"That's still part of what's being evaluated in this case," said Catherine Wilson, a spokeswoman for the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office.

She declined to comment on whether the boy may face more charges.
The teen is being held at a juvenile detention center and was ordered by a judge last week to undergo a psychological evaluation.

A message seeking comment left with the boy's attorney was not immediately returned.
Earlier this week, Lee Billi, 33, of the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit murder.

Police in Lakewood have said they don't know how far along the two were in the alleged plan, but they had talked about a Columbine-style plot, a reference to the 1999 massacre at a Colorado high school in which two students killed 12 classmates and a teacher and then committed suicide.

Authorities have said they found more than 100 knives and several illegal snakes at the teen's home in South Bend.

A school officer investigating an unrelated threat at Penn High had discovered Internet postings in which the teen discussed his support for the Columbine shooters, police have said.