New Hearing for Teen Accused of Plotting Vt. School Massacre - NECN


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New Hearing for Teen Accused of Plotting Vt. School Massacre



    Court Hears Evidence Against Vt. School Threat Suspect

    Jack Sawyer, an 18-year-old former student at Fair Haven Union High School, faces charges including attempted murder after allegedly threatening a massacre at that school.

    (Published Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018)

    A Vermont judge heard evidence Tuesday related to the case of a teenager accused of plotting a shooting massacre at his former high school.

    The new testimony pertained to Jack Sawyer, the 18-year-old facing three attempted murder charges for allegedly plotting to shoot up Fair Haven Union High School.

    Police said Sawyer had a specific kill list, and a weapon and ammo to use to carry out a plan.

    Previously, Sawyer entered pleas of not guilty to the accusations.

    "We received a complaint that he had threatened the high school," Chief Bill Humphries of the Fair Haven Police Department testified in Vermont Superior Court in Rutland.

    The info presented Tuesday to the court was aimed at helping Judge Thomas Zonay decide if Sawyer should stay in jail without bail as the case against him proceeds, or if he could be released with conditions, pending trial.

    When questioned by Rutland County State's Attorney Rose Kennedy, Cpl. Scott Alkinburgh, the school resource officer in Fair Haven, testified that he believes the defendant is capable of carrying out a mass shooting, and told the court he is scared of such a scenario.

    Defense attorney Kelly Green questioned Alkinburgh about whether Sawyer had ever brought a weapon of any sort to the school, and the officer answered, "Not to my knowledge."

    In response to another of Green’s questions, the school resource officer said he had not seen Sawyer on campus recently.

    Judge Zonay heard more than two hours of testimony Tuesday, but with still more evidence to be presented, the hearing was placed into recess until Friday.

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    Sawyer will continue to be held without bail in the meantime, Zonay said.

    Among the evidence from investigators was a notebook of Sawyer's that he called "the journal of an active shooter." In it, he outlines disturbing thoughts and specifics of his alleged plan, writing, "I'm aiming to kill as many as I can and whoever I can."

    Vermont's Republican governor, Phil Scott, and law enforcement earlier this month called the case way too close for comfort, fearing Sawyer's newly-purchased shotgun really could have been used at the school imminently.

    They praised teen tipster Angela McDevitt of Dutchess County, New York for helping speed the arrest of Sawyer before any harm could come of anyone.

    Vermont State Police said McDevitt told her mom and cops that she received scary Facebook messages from the suspect, whom she knew from their time together at a mental health treatment facility in Maine.

    "Don't, like, wait around on it," McDevitt advised potential tipsters Tuesday in an interview via smartphone from New York. "Don't think, 'Oh they're probably, eventually, going to change their mind about this.' I think that you need to act pretty quickly."

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    McDevitt echoed the plea of Gov. Scott and Vermont State Police, who have urged Vermonters "if you see something, say something" when it comes to disturbing threats or comments made either in-person or on social media.

    The Sawyer case has also prompted rapid change in discuss of potential gun legislation aimed at promoting safer communities. Of several bills currently being debated at the Vermont Statehouse, Gov. Scott has said "anything is on the table."

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