Two Quartz Hill teenagers planned a Columbine-style attack on their old high school in February in meticulous detail, sheriff’s deputies allege.
Johnny Alvarez Casas, then 17, and his friend, then 15, stockpiled ammunition and bomb-making supplies in their homes, then practiced detonating improvised explosives in the Antelope Valley desert, deputies said. The younger suspect’s name is being withheld because of his age.
The two were looking for an adult to buy them guns so they could shoot other students and ultimately kill themselves, but the plot unraveled, deputies said. A 16-year-old sophomore heard that the boys were planning to cut off her arms and legs during the attack and alerted an assistant principal, according to deputies. The boys were arrested Dec. 15.
And here comes the sob story…
Deputies said the boys confessed that they wanted to retaliate for ridicule they endured over their goth attire and lifestyle.
James A. Stevens, Casas’ defense attorney, said authorities wrung a false confession out of the boys with a “good cop, bad cop” routine. The two, who are charged with conspiracy to commit murder, have pleaded not guilty.
Stevens called the case the result of a massive overreaction by jittery school officials to fears of a possible rerun of the 1999 attack in which two teenage boys killed 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., before turning their guns on themselves.
“Johnny is a good kid, plain and simple,” Stevens said. “The only thing they haven’t done to him is send him to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.”
Casas, now 18, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole. His alleged accomplice, now 16, could be held in juvenile custody until he turns 25.
Do criminal defense attorneys take a special class in hyperbole? This isn’t shoplifting we’re talking about. The pair had stockpiled ammo and bomb-making materials and were actively searching for someone to buy them guns.
And before everyone jumps on the “they were bullied” bandwagon…
Stevens said Casas was harmless, a mixed-up kid of below-average intelligence shaken by his parents’ divorce. But Casas and his alleged accomplice were placed on probation for allegedly sodomizing a 14-year-old boy with a crowbar three years ago, Stevens acknowledged. Deputies confirmed the charge.
As far as the coercion allegation goes it sounds like another desperate defense attorney reaching the bottom of his bag of tricks.