Minnesota prosecutors said Wednesday they will appeal a judge’s decision to toss out the most serious charges against a teenager accused of plotting to blow up his high school. A Waseca County judge dismissed four counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree damage to property against 17-year-old John LaDue, arrested May 1 after a neighbor called 911 to report the teen’s bizarre behavior. Police say LaDue detailed in writing how he wanted to kill his family and then bomb Waseca Junior/Senior High School, murdering “as many students as he could.”
LaDue continues to face the lesser six charges of possession of explosive devices after prosecutors allege he had a storage locker of ammunition and bomb-making materials. In juvenile court Wednesday, he wore a navy suit with a dress shirt and only spoke to give his birth date. The judge decided to put on hold a decision whether to try LaDue as an adult until the appeals process is over. Defense attorney Steve Bergeson said he was surprised by the prosecution’s announcement to appeal. “We had our witnesses here ready to go,” he said, “and this is a delay that’s going to add months” to the effort to get LaDue admitted into a mental health treatment facility. The teen is currently being held in a juvenile facility.
— Jim Leinfelder
First published July 30 2014, 10:58 AM