A 12-year-old boy charged with plotting to frighten or even kill students who had teased him told some of his friends about his plan to take over his Prince William County middle school, but they did not take him seriously, according to the attorney for one of the boys.
Lawyer James Hundley, whose 13-year-old client has been charged with helping to plan the June 18 incident at Bull Run Middle School, said the boys never made any agreement to carry out the plan.
"Certainly any of these boys didn't consent or know that he would make good on this fantastic plan of his," Hundley said. "To the extent that a conspiracy is an agreement to commit a crime, there was never an agreement to commit a crime. [My client] would never do anything like this intentionally."
Hundley's client, who lives in Haymarket, has been charged with conspiracy to possess firearms on school property and has been released to his parents. Prince William police said the boy helped plan the attack for the last day of school but then backed out.
Although police said the 13-year-old did not brandish weapons in the school that morning, he and his 12-year-old classmate "committed an overt act," Maj. Ray Colgan told parents and students last week at a community meeting at the school.
Claiborne T. Richardson II, an assistant commonwealth's attorney prosecuting the case, declined yesterday to discuss the government's evidence, citing laws protecting juveniles younger than 14. But when asked what Colgan meant by overt act, he said, "something was done in preparation for the ultimate act, something that goes toward preparation."
Police and witnesses said the 12-year-old brought three guns, more than 100 rounds of ammunition, a knife and flammable liquid to the school in his mother's van. His mother, Naomi Lewis, 38, a school cafeteria worker, saw the weapons and discussed them with the boy but left them locked in the vehicle on school property, police said. She did not know her son had another key to the van, they said.
When students began arriving at the school, the boy sneaked into the van, brought the weapons into the school by concealing them in a nylon bag and changed into full camouflage gear inside a restroom, police said.
An assistant principal checking the restrooms heard the boy loading a weapon and raced to the administrative office to alert police. The boy followed him inside and allegedly brandished a rifle and made threats, police said. A teacher was trying to talk him out of hurting anyone when police arrived and arrested him.
The 12-year-old was charged with several crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit abduction for money. His mother has been charged with possession of a weapon on school property.
Hundley said his client and the 12-year-old are friends and had classes together but "didn't spend a lot of time together outside school."
He said his client was one of about a half-dozen boys who told a teacher while the school was being evacuated that the 12-year-old had discussed his plans with them. The boys were then questioned by police.
Hundley said his client "went to a teacher and said [the 12-year-old] had been talking about this and wanting to do something on the last day of school. That's why these kids were taken to the police station."
His client was released to his parents but later in the day was served with a petition charging him with conspiracy.
"The parents are very solid, very attentive parents," Hundley said.
He said the boys probably will be co-defendants. Their trial is scheduled for July 6 in Prince William County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
Jerilyn Christensen, a spokeswoman for Prince William schools, said the School Board will determine whether Lewis and the two boys will be allowed to return to school next year once the legal proceedings are concluded.