Acquitted Smoke Bomber Back to School

The 13-year-old acquitted of plotting to attack two local high schools was permitted to return to school today, Liesel Nowak wrote in Saturday’s Progress. He was expelled from Jack Jouett after being convicted in juvenile court, but after his acquittal in a proper trial last week he met with AHS principal Matt Haas to prepare to start school. That may well close this chapter in the boy’s life so that he can move on.

12 Responses to “Acquitted Smoke Bomber Back to School”

  • It is very good news that this young man has been able to resume his education. The boy’s parents were truly strong on behalf of their son.

    However, there are two other “smoke bombers” who should also be back in school. I hope they will also soon be able to put his whole “plot” behind them and get on with growing up.

    And perhaps saddest of all, there is a young man in juvenile prison who surely needs a different treatment setting.

  • “And perhaps saddest of all, there is a young man in juvenile prison who surely needs a different treatment setting”

    Also sad is the government officials involved will go without consequence.

  • As a community, we need to push for an investigation into police conduct in this case and if someone will run against Camblos we have to get out and vote for them- whether it is in 07 or some later election- it is our job to remember this. It remains to be seen what the consequences will be and to some extent it depends how much we, as a community care.
    Bravo! to Coy Barefoot and Hawes Spencer and the other media figures who are keeping the community well informed and up to date on this case.
    Right now, all the kids in the “smoke bomb plot” should be back in the public schools (assuming this is what their parents want)- If the county schools need to amend regulations so this can happen, they should endeavor to do so. This should not be a case where zero tolerance comes to equal zero judgement.

  • Gail,

    It is clear that you feel that all four children are innocent, but I will be the first to say that I’d rather children be taught a VERY SERIOUS lesson when it comes to threating others, esp. with their own lives.

    I don’t know all the going on’s of the case, but from what I’ve read there clearly was something said that was very upsetting to law-enforcement and in my opinion, it needed to be treated seriously when it comes to the safety of our public school system.

    I also agree that the law-enforcement went over the top and were guilty of grand-standing to some extent. So neither party is innocent, but I’d rather be on the side of caution that have another school massacre. Wouldn’t you?


    I’m gald the 13yr old is back in school as it appeared he had no real connections, but I’m not so sure about the others (or at least the primary.)

  • Tito, Gail did make the distinction between the suspect who pled guilty and the other three. The young man who was recently found innocent did not even know the boy who pled guilty, and if I recall correctly, he did not know one of the other boys either. Furthermore, he was acquitted by a jury based on a lack of evidence. Since these charges stem from a criminal conspiracy, the lack of evidence against one conspirator makes it pretty likely that there is a lack of evidence against the others.

    One of the boys is not guilty. I hope we remember that. He’s not a bomb suspect, he’s not a conspirator, he’s not a criminal.

    Everyone agrees that the activity in and around the original trial was shaky. I hope that this boy’s new trial, an open trial by jury, will lead to review of the other three convictions. I think we’ll find that at least three and maybe four teenagers were unfairly railroaded.

    And then, as Gail points out, we need to see why the police and school systems over-reacted and why the police and the prosecutors decided to run a wild west show instead of a fair trial. And then, we need to vote for whatever warm body next runs against Camblos.

    I’m actually unaware of Camblos’ district. Anyone know?

  • I’m actually unaware of Camblos’ district. Anyone know?

    Commonwealth’s attorneys are elected by municipality. Camblos represents Albemarle.

  • Thanks.

    I thought he also represented the city as well.

  • no, that’s dave chapman.

  • Tito- I think that 3 of the kids, excluding the troubled young man who pleaded guilty, are innocent of the crime they were CHARGED with: Conspiracy to Commit Murder. Now, I think they were guilty of making some irresponsible remarks but I also think that having already spent months in Juvenile Detention should be punishment enough.

    No one wants to avoid a school massacre here more than I do- my beloved child is an AHS student.

    However, any real safety concerns in this case could have been dealt with by getting the WAHS student into effective residential treatment and it is very unfortunate that the situation was not handled that way. This is not the first potentially violent boy to grow up in this community and I know we can do better.

  • This happened because authorities wanted to avoid “another Columbine.” Certainly a valid reason. But now it looks like evidence to support their position simply does not exist.
    It reminds me that we invaded Iraq to avoid “another 9/11″. But we have found no weapons of mass destruction, no concrete Iraqi ties to al-Qaeda. And thousands are dead.
    So” the system” works, or does it? It almost executed an innocent man in the Earl Washington case. And here in Albemarle County it disrupted and perhaps destroyed four young lives, and that of their families.
    Maybe we’re not paranoid. They really are out to get us, all of them from Dubya to Camblos.

  • Funny you’d mention Earl Washington — that’s another high-profile Camblos gaffe, though I didn’t think it made the “Greatest Hits” cut. Camblos once defended a prime suspect in the case in which Washington was wrongly convicted. Which was no good, what with Camblos being the special prosecutor in charge of looking into the case, back in 2004. Camblos refused to step down. Days passed. Still he refused. Papers like the Washington Post ran significant articles about how bizarre it was that he, with a clear conflict of interest, wouldn’t give up his post. Finally, under great pressure, he agreed to step down, still claiming that he figured Earl Washington may have done it, DNA evidence be damned.

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