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Tampa teen pleads no contest to planning school shooting

On Behalf of | Nov 20, 2012 | Criminal Defense

On a cellphone video, a 17-year-old male says he is the one who committed a mass shooting at his former Tampa high school. “Well, I will be in a couple months,” he said.

Despite his prediction, the teen never carried out his plan to attack his former school. However, he has been in jail for more than a year and could be sentenced to further incarceration in December. The case is an example of how a plan to carry out a crime can itself be a crime in Florida.

The defendant was arrested in August 2011 after a friend told police that he was planning an attack on the high school, from which he was expelled in 2010. Police searched his home and allegedly found materials that could be used to make bombs. Prosecutors said there also was writing and drawings that explained the defendant’s plan to set off bombs at the school before going inside to shoot teachers and other targets.

The prosecutors also released a video they said the defendant made. On the video, the defendant talks about his plan and challenges authorities to “find people like me and just line us up and shoot us.”

The charge against the defendant is intending to harm other with a destructive device. This is an example of an “inchoate” offense, or a charge related to a crime that did not occur. Other examples include attempt, solicitation and conspiracy. Generally, prosecutors must prove that the defendant intended to commit the crime to convict him or her on an inchoate charge.

Source: ABC News, “Jared Cano: Cell Phone Video Reveals Teen’s Elaborate Plan to Blow Up School,” John Muller and Kevin Dolak, Nov. 20, 2012

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