Student Guilty of Plotting College Attack
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Al Joseph DeGuzman, who assembled an arsenal of guns and homemade bombs while plotting a killing spree of fellow students at De Anza College, was convicted on 108 counts Friday of possessing and planning to use those weapons.
DeGuzman, 20, whose diary notes indicate he intended to copy the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., carried out by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, could face up to 100 years in prison.
San Jose Superior Court Judge Robert Ahern announced his verdict Friday morning. The trial was held without a jury, because DeGuzman's attorneys worried the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks would influence jurors.
Prosecutors said during the trial that DeGuzman was hours away from attacking students at the Cupertino college in January 2001 when a photo lab clerk alerted police after developing snapshots of DeGuzman's arsenal of homemade weapons.
"I think it was the correct decision by the court, but it's not a great surprise," prosecutor Thomas Farris said. "We'll never know what was averted, but we know the potential was very high he was going to hurt someone."
DeGuzman was convicted of 54 counts of possessing a destructive device and 54 counts of possessing a destructive device with intent to harm. Eight other counts were dismissed.
Ahern dissmissed six counts of possessing a destructive device because the counts involved Molotov cocktails that did not have wicks, meaning they did not qualify as destructive devices. One count of possessing a sawed-off shotgun and one count of possessing a sawed-off rifle were dismissed because of clerical errors.
Sentencing was set for June 25.
DeGuzman showed little emotion, looking back briefly at family members and friends as the verdicts were read. Defense attorney Craig Wormley said DeGuzman was disappointed, and immediately asked how long he'd have to spend in prison.
"Our intention all along was (to show) that he never intended to kill anyone. We still believe that," Wormley said. "He's extremely remorseful that he's putting his family through this."