ST. GEORGE (News4Utah) – The boy accused of bringing a bomb to Pine View High School in St. George appeared in court Thursday.
The suspect’s parents shared their son was socially awkward had been bullied over the years.
“Either hitting him or calling him names. One had even said that it was too bad that he hadn’t died over the weekend,” testified the suspect’s father.
“He said you know the kids just aren’t nice, and I kind of tried to say well there’s people no matter where you go, there’s people that are going to be rude, and he finally broke down and cried and said you just don’t understand mom how bad it is,” said the suspect’s mom.
“We had a few conferences with teachers and principals … he had some incidents with other students where he had reacted to them,” said the teen’s father.
Judge Paul Dame will decide if the boy should remain in Juvenile Court or be tried as an adult.
The teen is charged with attempted murder and using a weapon of mass destruction after he allegedly brought a homemade explosive to school March 5th.
No one was hurt Monday after the backpack was found in a common area of the school by a student who reported it to a teacher.
The boy was arrested and booked into a detention center on charges of manufacture, possession, sale, use or attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, St. George police said in a statement.
No one was hurt, no damage was reported and the school reopened Tuesday morning for classes. Police did not describe the homemade bomb in detail but said it “had the potential to cause significant injury or death.”
“Based on our investigation we can confirm this was a failed attempt to detonate a homemade explosive at the school. It was also determined that the male had been researching information and expressing interest in ISIS and promoting the organization,” police said.
Police in the city of Hurricane about a half-hour drive from St. George said Tuesday the teen who was arrested is also suspected of raising an Islamic State group flag in February at Hurricane High School. That happened on Feb. 15, a day after a mass shooting at a school in Florida. Authorities initially thought the graffiti and flag at the school were pranks.
The backpack at Pine View High School was found by a student who reported to a teacher that smoke was coming out of it shortly after noon Monday, said St. George Police Capt. Giles said.
“With treatment that was carefully monitored, I would not consider this individual to be a threat,” said Expert Witness and Mental Health Counselor Shara Mitchell Ogilvie.
Mitchell Ogilvie testified she agreed with the psychologist’s findings who said the teen had Level 1 Autism.
His parents said they didn’t know their son was autistic until the assessment.
“Absolutely the most important ingredient, one of them is parent education, so meeting with the parents and helping to understand,” said Mitchell Ogilvie.
The teen is also charged with replacing an American Flag with an ISIS flag at Hurricane High School days before bringing a bomb to school.
The defense claims the boy’s intent was to scare. The State argues the teen’s intent was to kill and harm others.