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Sabin Middle School threat suspect, 13, loses bid for release on bond

February 12, 2018 Updated: February 13, 2018 at 6:15 am
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A judge Monday denied a request to set bond for one of two 13-year-old boys linked to an alleged "kill list" at Sabin Middle School in Colorado Springs, ordering that he remain in custody. (The Gazette file)

A judge Monday denied a request to set bond for one of two 13-year-old boys linked to an alleged "kill list" at Sabin Middle School in Colorado Springs, ordering that he remain in custody.

Fourth Judicial District Judge G. David Miller cited continuing fears for the public's safety given allegations that the teens "idolized" the Columbine High School shooters and that the boy petitioning for release had footage on his cell phone of a Molotov cocktail being detonated in a culvert - a worrisome sign they had begun taking steps toward action.

"It's not 'kids being kids,'" Miller said. "Regular kids don't run around saying they're going to blow up their school and shoot everybody in there."

Both boys have been held at Spring Creek Youth Services Center in Colorado Springs since early October. They were arrested, and their parents' homes were searched, after Colorado Springs police said they found evidence the two were plotting to shoot students and staff at Sabin Middle School, 3605 N. Carefree Circle. What drove them, and whether they had a time frame in mind for their attack, are details that haven't been released.

Attorneys for the boys have argued they were bullied and "venting" or "puffing" by exploring violent fantasies they had no intention of pursuing.

In asking to keep both in custody pending trial, prosecutor Teri Sample read from text messages and journal entries suggesting the threat was real.

One or both boys alluded to putting fresh names on a kill list, talked of walking down school hallways with a "sawed-off double barrel," and spoke of shooting people at point-blank range, including in the spine to cause paralysis, Sample said.

"If I legitimately got pushed too far, I could do it any day," one boy wrote.

Sample said she had no evidence the boys were bullied - only that they were angry they weren't included in group activities.

The boy who was denied a bond was described as a model inmate at Spring Creek who has earned a 3.9 grade-point average while in custody. He has been singled out as a peer leader for the week 11 times and hasn't been sanctioned for misconduct since his placement, said public defender Lara Nafziger. She said prosecutors have failed to show a link between video of a Molotov cocktail being ignited at an underpass near the school and the alleged plot described by prosecutors. She also said police found no bomb-making materials in the boys' possession.

"Nothing has been presented to me that has changed my mind," Miller said in rejecting Nafziger's request.

Both teens will return to court for a preliminary hearing June 26, when the District Attorney's Office will offer a preview of evidence gathered thus far.

Prosecutors remain on course to pursue both teenagers as adults, on charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

The judge will consider that request in a series of hearings set for this summer.

An adult transfer hearing for one of the boys is scheduled for June 27-28. The second boy's hearing is scheduled for June 29 and July 3.

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