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New Charge for Suspect in Kan. School Plot

By ROXANA HEGEMAN
The Associated Press
Wednesday, May 3, 2006; 8:43 PM

COLUMBUS, Kan. -- One of five teens accused of plotting a shooting rampage at their southeast Kansas high school was charged Wednesday with solicitation to commit murder.

The judge and the prosecutor would not disclose why 16-year-old James Tillman faced a new charge, and the teen's attorney did not know.

Judge Robert Fleming refused to set bond for Tillman, citing the affidavit he read on the latest charge.

"It is frightening," Fleming said. "It suggested these kids were going to get together and shoot up half the school."

Tillman and four other youths were arrested April 20 _ the seventh anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado _ after a message about the suspected plot appeared on the Web site MySpace.com.

Sheriff Steve Norman has said the teens planned to wear black trench coats and disable Riverton High School's camera system before starting the attack.

The five teens each were charged with one count of incitement to riot and one count of making a criminal threat.

Defense attorneys say the incident is not as serious as the state alleges.

"I think the truth will come out during these whole proceedings," said Tillman's attorney, Samuel Marsh.

Fleming reduced the bond for Charles "Coy" New, 18, from $50,000 to a $25,000 surety bond plus a $25,000 signature bond with house arrest. The judge set similar bonds and conditions for Robert Hunt, 17, Caleb Byrd, 16 and Andrew Jaeger, 15.

"We believe there is a significant issue of public safety," said Assistant Attorney General Stephen Maxwell.

New is being tried as an adult. The state asked the judge Wednesday to also try the four juveniles as adults. Fleming set a May 16 hearing to consider that motion.

© 2006 The Associated Press