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Teen Pleads Innocent in Bomb Plot

A 17-year-old accused of planning an attack at Quartz Hill High School will be tried as an adult.

April 11, 2006|Peter Hong | Times Staff Writer

A 17-year-old accused of plotting to bomb an Antelope Valley high school pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Lancaster on Monday to charges of conspiracy to commit murder and explosives possession.

A juvenile court judge in Sylmar ruled last week that Johnny Alvarez Casas would be tried as an adult. Prosecutors have accused him of planning with a 15-year-old friend to set a bomb off at Quartz Hill High School last Valentine's Day.

The students -- who had attended Quartz Hill but were moved to other schools for disciplinary reasons-- were arrested in December after another student reported their alleged plot to a Quartz Hill school official.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies said they found knives, ammunition and bomb-making instructions at the students' homes, as well as pictures of Columbine High School killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy J. McVeigh and convicted murderer Charles Manson.

Sheriff's officials said one of the teens told deputies he planned to kill those who had made fun of him, then commit suicide.

Casas, who is being held without bail, will return to court April 21 for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial. A defense attorney for Casas could not be reached for comment.

The 15-year-old will appear in Juvenile Court April 18 on similar charges.

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