updated 5/27/2008 8:48:00 PM ET 2008-05-28T00:48:00

Prosecutors have dropped the most serious charge against a South Carolina teenager accused of plotting to blow up his high school.

Prosecutors said Tuesday that Ryan Schallenberger will not be charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a potential life sentence. The 18-year-old Chesterfield high school senior instead has been indicted on three explosives charges that carry a combined maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

Acting U.S. Attorney Kevin McDonald would not give any specifics about why the most serious charge was dropped.

Schallenberger's attorney did not answer his office phone after hours. A message could not be left because the lawyer's voice mail was full.

The straight-A student was arrested April 19.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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