August 30, 2006
At the request of the media, an Albemarle County judge decided to unseal some of the court records that reveal the fate one of the four teenagers accused of plotting to blow up two local schools.
The sixteen-year-old was convicted in Juvenile Court of plotting a Columbine-style attack on Albemarle and Western Albemarle High Schools. He appealed it and a brand new case went to Circuit Court. Now, we are learning he agreed to sign a plea deal with prosecutors.
"Our primary concern has always been the juveniles and the safety of the community," said Jim Camblos, Albemarle County's Commonwealth Attorney.
The teen entered an Alford plea, without admitting guilt, which reduced the two felonies. This would allow the judge to put the case on hold and monitor his behavior until his 18th birthday. If he displays good behavior the judge could reduce the felony conviction to a misdemeanor or even dismiss the case.
"That would only happen if he does everything that he is required to do. If he does that, and he becomes a productive member of society and the schools are safer for it," said Camblos.
Prosecutors said the teenager was evaluated by the Virginia Youth Violence Project and the plea agreement tracks their recommendations identically.
"It was a very good plea agreement. It helps that juvenile get rehabilitated, the schools are protected, our community is protected and the ends of justice are met," Camblos said.
Right now the teen is not enrolled in school. However, under the plea agreement he must undergo mental health treatment and refrain from using the Internet without parental supervision. His attorney declined to comment about the case at this time.
A judge will check on the teen every six months. A hearing is scheduled for November 22nd, and it is open to the public.