Psychologists testify about Waseca bomb suspect, court mulls adult charges


A judge in Waseca heard four psychologists testify about John LaDue Tuesday, as the court considers whether the teen should be charged as a juvenile or adult over an alleged plot to bomb his school.

LaDue was 17 when he was arrested last year after police found him in a rented storage unit with bomb-making materials and a notebook authorities say described a plan to kill his family and bomb Waseca High School.

The most serious charges against him were for attempted murder, but those were dismissed by a judge who ruled LaDue could not be prosecuted over the thoughts contained in his journal.

Six charges for possessing explosives remain, though, and Tuesday's hearing came as the judge decides whether LaDue should be certified as an adult.

KARE 11 reports that in urging an adult trial, Waseca County prosecutors noted that if he's sentenced as a juvenile he would need to be released within a few years, which they said is not enough time for LaDue to get the treatment he needs.

A psychologist who testified for the prosecution said LaDue is on the autism spectrum and his disorder causes him to become fixated on violence and weapons, KARE reports.

KEYC says two psychologists testified in support of keeping LaDue's case in the juvenile justice system, pointing to the progress he's made while being held at a facility in Willmar.

Defense lawyers, KEYC reports, also noted that psychological treatment can be mandated in the juvenile system, but not in the adult system, where it would have to be voluntary.

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Judge Robert Bimbaum set a July 24 deadline for each side to submit their written arguments and said he would rule within 30 days after that, KEYC reports.

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