A 16-year-old Edmonds teen was charged in King County Juvenile Court today with one count of felony harassment in the Internet threat case that closed Skyline High School last month.
King County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Dan Donohoe said that though both cyberstalking and harassment charges were originally looked at, the prosecutor's office filed the harassment charge because it is a more serious felony charge, while cyberstalking is a gross misdemeanor.
Donohoe said that the teen charged in the case has no previous criminal record, so it is unlikely that he would be tried as an adult in the case.
The charging documents state that the boy knowingly threatened to cause bodily harm to students at the Sammamish school, and that the staff and authorities had reason to believe that the threat was credible, the day after the threat was posted. In light of the seriousness of the threat, another local school, the private high school Eastside Catholic closed the following day to review its security measures.
Donohoe confirmed this morning that the 16-year-old Edmonds teen suspected of posting a threat to shoot students at Skyline High School in Sammamish was released to home detention on an order entered by King County Chief Juvenile Court Judge Helen Halpert on Wednesday. Arraignment is scheduled for tomorrow, Oct. 5, in King County Juvenile Court.
Earlier today, parents expressed concern that the boy was being released, given the nature of the threat.
Rhonda Bunker, whose son attends Eastside Catholic, said she was "outraged" at the court's decision to remand the teen to home monitoring.
"I was in a meeting in Washington D.C. when my son called me," the day after the threat, Bunker said. "All I heard was, 'gunman,' 'threat,' 'lockdown.' My blood went cold."
Bunker forwarded to Patch a letter she said she sent to Halpert's bailiff this morning, along with copies to about 100 other parents, after learning that the boy could be released pending charges.
The letter read, in part:
Ever since Columbine, several innocent students have lost their lives due to the uncivilized actions from people, like the kid, in the recent case. Any person who thinks or can write threats like this cannot be taken lightly. As a parent, I find it completely irresponsible that this kid is allowed to be at home, under the supervision of his parents. Clearly, there are problems on the home front, and clearly his parents are neither responsible nor involved, as this happened under their supervision. Do you truly think slapping an ankle bracelet and sitting this kid in front of the TV to watch Spongebob all day is going to solve this problem? Until we, as a community, teach people like this, there are serious consequences for actions such as this, these horrible crimes will not end. It is only a matter of time before this kid acts out on his threats. Let me remind you, he has not done this once, but twice. He is clearly in need of some serious therapy, at the least. Please reconsider your ruling. I am sending your email out to all my friends and am hopeful they reach out to you as well. I have heard you are a good Judge, but you clearly missed the mark on this ruling as your decision puts our children in danger.
Police Oct. 2, after Skyline students reported their suspicions of their former classmate's involvement to the school resource officer, Alana Hall.
According to the charging documents, the teen allegedly bragged last year to a Skyline student about posting a threat that closed Meadowdale High School in Lynnwood for a day last April, and allegedly admitted to a student at Edmonds-Woodway High School, which he attended until his arrest, that he had made both threats.
Patch does not name juvenile suspects unless they are charged as adults.
To see all of Patch's coverage of this incident, please visit our topic page here.