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Culver teen facing coercion charges set to reenter school

The boy's case will go to trial in March
News Editor
   The Culver High School student accused of composing a list of classmates he intended to kill entered a denial of allegations to four counts of coercion Monday, setting the stage for a trial in March.
   Meanwhile, the 14-year-old male freshman will return to school on Jan. 22 through a re-entry plan drafted by Culver School District officials. He will be attending classes for the first time since he was placed on house arrested nearly three months ago.
   His trial has been scheduled for March 11 at 9:30 a.m. A trial readiness hearing will take place Feb. 28.
   The boy's attorney, Jon Springer, told the court he expected a two to three day trial. Springer said he was unsuccessful in an attempt to reach a settlement agreement with the state, which is represented by Jefferson County District Attorney Peter Deuel.
   Circuit Court Judge George Neilson told the young man he was pleased with his behavior since being placed on house arrest in mid-November.
   "I'm excited you've been following your release agreement and I'm excited you get to go back to school," Neilson told the boy, who was accompanied by his mother and other family members. His father listened to the proceedings via telephone.
   The young man's participation at school will be limited to classes, Neilson said. The judge was asked by Springer whether the boy could attend other school-related activities, but Neilson responded: "As far as I'm concerned he has to attend classes then go home."
   Following an earlier psychological evaluation, Culver School District officials crafted the boy's re-entry plan for this upcoming Monday.
   Culver High School principal Jon Bell declined to comment specifically on the case, but did say the school would continue to be a safe place for students to get an education.
   "Obviously our sensitivity is going to be increased on how students communicate with each other and we're going to make a concerted effort to address how students concerns are heard," Bell offered.
   "Culver High School is and will continue to be a safe place."
   The youth was arrested in mid-October. In most instances, it is The Pioneer's policy not to print the names of juveniles facing charges.