updated 1/7/2009 6:35:09 PM ET 2009-01-07T23:35:09

A Pennsylvania teenager accused of planning an attack at his high school admitted to a charge of attempted murder in juvenile court Wednesday.

A magisterial district judge said prosecutors agreed to drop all charges except the single count. The case also was moved to juvenile court.

Investigators say the 15-year-old boy planned to attack Pottstown High School schoolmates last month with guns stolen from his father. Pottstown is a suburb of Philadelphia.

Authorities say the boy asked a friend to hold several guns, but the friend threw them in a river. The father reported the weapons missing, prompting a police investigation and the boy's arrest.

Sentencing is expected in the next month. The boy could remain in juvenile custody until he turns 21.

His attorney, Stephen G. Heckman, said the boy could have faced 10 to 20 years if sentenced in adult court.

"A boy his age with not really any type of criminal background I felt strongly did not belong in the adult system," Heckman said.

Investigators said the boy had a history of depression and mental health problems and was repeating his freshman year. Heckman said the boy has been receiving mental health care since his arrest.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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