Sitting with proper posture and his hands flat on the table, a 15-year-old Lakota East High School student faced a judge Monday.
He is charged with making a terroristic threat.
“What I can tell you, your honor, about my client is he has absolutely no record. I believe that the people at the school would indicate that he is well-behaved, that he is a quiet and shy young man,” defense attorney Rob Dziech said.
Dziech said the teen was bullied.
“I think what we have here is a child who was afraid of some bullies, who possibly made some bad mistakes,” Dziech said.
Investigators with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office said the teen sent a Snapchat threatening to assassinate multiple students and put them in a blender.
A student reported the Snapchat, and the Liberty Township teen was arrested.
“I don’t think he is a threat to society. I don’t think he’s a threat to himself,” Dziech said.
The defense asked that the teen be released to his parents, who were in the courtroom, but the magistrate ordered that the teen remain in the juvenile justice center and undergo a risk assessment.
“You’re alleging that there’s bullying, and there’s a lot of times we have kids that get involved in this and it can end very tragically, and we need to see what we’re dealing with first,” Magistrate John Brewer said.
Dziech said the Lakota school district is investigating the bullying allegations.
Lakota East High School Principal Suzanna Davis said in a written statement, “While we cannot comment on any specific case due to student privacy rights, any allegation of bullying at Lakota is investigated fully. Beginning in kindergarten through senior year, students participate in programs to proactively address bullying. Part of this education involves encouraging students to report any instances of bullying they experience or witness so that district officials can intervene in the best interest of the student. This is an issue we take very seriously.”
The teen is scheduled to be back in court on Nov. 2.