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Teen charged in Waseca school bomb plot will be tried as adult

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The Waseca teenager arrested in connection with what prosecutors say was a plot to attack his school will be tried as an adult.

John LaDue, who was 17 when he was first arrested, was ordered to adult court by Judge Robert Birnbaum Friday, KAAL reports.

KSTP uploaded the 24-page order online – click here to read it.

In the document, the judge writes adult certification will address the public safety concerns, and also meet the needs for treatment and rehabilitation.

Now 18, LaDue was arrested after small explosive devices were found on an elementary school playground in March 2014. In the criminal complaint filed at the time, authorities claimed he planned to kill his family, then detonate bombs at the local school.

He was charged with multiple counts of premeditated attempted murder, possessing explosives, and attempted damage to property.

Last summer, a judge dismissed the most serious charges initially filed against LaDue – four counts of premeditated attempted murder, plus two counts of attempted damage to property. He said the prosecution had not provided enough evidence to prove that LaDue’s actions went beyond “preparations,” the legal bar that has to be hurdled.

So what's still standing are six counts of possessing explosive devices.

His defense team had argued the juvenile system would adequately deal with LaDue, and that the remaining charges were exaggerated because they were part of the dismissed charges' broader plot, the Waseca County News reports.

But prosecutors said LaDue is a risk to public safety and – with only a couple years until he's 21 – argued he won't get the help he needs in the juvenile system, the paper says.

In June, psychologists testified about LaDue as part of the process to determine whether he should be tried as an adult. At the time, some noted psychological treatment can be mandated in the juvenile system, but not in the adult system, where it would have to be voluntary.

LaDue will be transferred immediately from a juvenile center to Waseca County Jail, as he awaits his first court appearance, KSTP notes. The County News says he's expected to be in court Monday, and his lawyer has 30 days to file an appeal.

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