Students arrested for bomb threat
Three MCHS students detained on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, terrorist acts
December 27, 2001
Daily Press staff
Three Moffat County High School students have been arrested on felony charges of conspiracy to commit murder and terrorist training activities.
One student was also charged with felony stalking. Bond has been set at $50,000 for each defendant.
Colorado Open Records Laws require that the names of juveniles be released in cases where juveniles are charged with crimes that would be a felony if committed by an adult.
However, Deputy Assistant District Attorney Bonnie Roesink said that Moffat County Court Judge Mary Lynne James is ordering that the names of the students not be released.
She said that releasing the names of the students involved would be a violation of her written order to have the arrest warrants sealed.
The Craig Police Department and the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office made the arrests on Dec. 21, after investigating an alleged plan to plant and detonate explosive devices at Moffat County High School and the Moffat County Courthouse.
MCHS Principal Jane Krogman said that following one student’s suspension for possession of a pocket knife in mid-December, the school administration began investigating student concerns of violence.
School officials discovered the other two students had plans for violence and they were subsequently suspended for those threats.
“We worked in cooperation with the police department to investigate these threats,” Krogman said.
Krogman said she could not comment on whether the students had targeted specific faculty or students in their plans, or what length the students had gone in planning the attacks.
“We know these students were friends and we believe that all students involved in the threats have been apprehended. We have 800 students in our school and a duty to keep them safe,” Krogman said. “We have a responsibility to the community to maintain a safe environment. That’s what we’re going to do, that’s what the community trusts us to do.”
Krogman said the students have been suspended through Jan. 11.
Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said the investigation is ongoing.
“The investigation is continuing as we speak,” Vanatta said. “Where we go from here depends on the interviews we’re conducting, and what the rest of the investigation produces. The department is taking this situation very seriously.”
Vanatta could not comment on whether any more arrests might be made and would not comment on what kind of evidence was collected in the initial investigation.
The students were transported to the Grand Mesa Juvenile Corrections Facility immediately after their arrests.
They appeared before Judge James in Moffat County Court on Monday, where their bonds were set.
They were then returned to the juvenile detention center for secure holding.
James also sealed the arrest warrants.
“So much is under investigation in this case,” Krogman said. “It is really premature for us to discuss it we’re in a legal quandary. “
Vice Principal Julie Baker said that what is important is that parents understand the school is safe and the faculty handled the situation according to school policy.
“We really handled this situation well. Our utmost priority is to ensure a safe environment for all students and staff,” she said. “I am surprised by this. What we need to realize is whether we live in a town of 500 or 5 million, these issues are everywhere. “We think by living in a small town we’re immune to this the reality is, we’re not,” she said. “The administration at the high school is working very hard to take care of this.”
Colorado law allows juveniles to be charged as adults in some cases.
A conviction as an adult, according to Colorado law, would cause a juvenile to be sentenced as an adult.
However, Roesink said that the three students would not be tried as adults in this case.
She will be handling the case for the District Attorney’s Office.
Final charges have not yet been filed.
Krogman said that parents should feel good about sending their students back to school following the winter break on Jan. 7.
“We are always working to maintain a safe environment. If anyone has concerns they should call me,” she said. “If students know about potential violence or something like this, something that may be harmful, they should alert myself or a staff member.”