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Man arrested for helping Ind. boy in school plot

/ Source: The Associated Press

Authorities near Cleveland have arrested a man they say e-mailed an Indiana teenager about conducting a Columbine-style attack on two schools.

Lee Billi, 33, was charged Thursday with conspiracy to commit aggravated murder, Lakewood Police Chief Tim Malley said.

The 16-year-old boy, whose name was not released because of his age, also appeared in an Indiana courtroom Friday. He was being held at a juvenile detention center.

Malley said he didn't know how far along the two were in their alleged plans.

Authorities said the two exchanged e-mails Sunday in which they discussed mass murders at the same time at the teen's school near South Bend and at Ohio. A computer was removed from Billi's home in Lakewood in a search Thursday.

Billi was held in jail and expected to be arraigned by Saturday.

The teen asked for help obtaining a TEC-DC9 9mm pistol, saying it would be “awesome” to use the same weapon as the Columbine killers in carrying out mass murders in two states on Sept. 11, a prosecutor said.

Authorities detained the teen Tuesday on an initial charge of intimidation, St. Joseph prosecutor County Michael Dvorak said. His office was preparing charges of conspiracy to commit murder after authorities found more than 100 knives at the boy’s home, Dvorak said.

He said a school officer investigating an unrelated threat at the teen’s school, Penn High, discovered Internet postings in which the teen discussed his support for the Columbine shooters, a reference to the 1999 massacre at a suburban Denver high school in which two students killed 12 classmates and a teacher before committing suicide.

Police: Illegal snakes found in home
Authorities also found several illegal snakes at the teen’s home in Mishawaka, about 10 miles east of South Bend, Dvorak said.

Police searched the student’s locker, backpack, home and laptop computer and found notebooks in which he wrote about killing a large number of people. They found he had searched the Internet on Monday for how to make propane tank bombs and for a reference guide on how to make explosives and other dangerous devices, Dvorak said.