The 15-year-old Paw Paw teen who was charged with plotting a mass shooting at Paw Paw High School in mid-March has pled guilty to two felony charges, Newschannel 3 has learned.
Originally charged with 10 counts in the plot to carry out the attack, a plea deal struck means the teen will only be sentenced to a felony explosives and firearm charge. Currently being held at the Allegan County Juvenile Detention Center, the teen is receiving treatment and will remain in police custody until his expected sentencing on June 5.
Van Buren County prosecutor Michael Bedford said he believes this is a good outcome with the right decision in such a high-priority case.
“It means that justice has been served. The situation was very critical. The school stepped up and did the right thing and law enforcement stepped up and did the right thing, in my opinion,” Bedford said. “Our office spent a great deal of time going over all the information making sure we presented a case for the judge so that he can make the right decision. We believe that he has made the right decision.”
The sophomore, who was found with an arsenal of guns, ammunition and explosives, was brought to the police station by his mother the Sunday before he had planned to attack the school. After two full days of deliberation, a Van Buren County judge decided in early-May that the student would be tried as a juvenile, refusing to honor the prosecution’s request to try the student as an adult due to a fear of being a risk after phasing out of the juvenile system at age 19.
The teen’s grandfather found evidence of a shotgun’s barrel being sawed off in his barn along with a missing shotgun and rifle from his collection and alerted the student’s mother. The mother then found the arsenal in his bedroom and brought him to police. Throughout the designation hearing, prosecution revealed the student was in possession of a notebook, also found by family, that detailed his plans and desire for a mass shooting.
The boy’s mother said he was questioned by school authorities and the FBI after his bomb making notebook was found at school a month prior to his arrest, which in turn resulted in garnering the nickname of “Bomb Boy” at school and being subject to bullying.
The deputy stationed at the high school testified in the designation hearing that through interviews with at least 50 students at the school, all say they never saw or heard anything about the bullying.