Teen suspected in Waseca bomb plot sentenced; judge says not to shun him


The Waseca teenager accused of possessing explosives – part of a plot, authorities argued, to kill his family and bomb his high school – will avoid jail time, and the judge asked the community not to shun him.

John LaDue, who pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession of an explosive or incendiary device last month, was sentenced to up to 10 years probation and 50 hours of community service Monday, KEYC reports.

In exchange for his guilty plea, the other charges against him were dropped.

LaDue, now 18, will now be sent to a mental health facility in Georgia, the Mankato Free Press says.

He'll remain there for an unspecified amount of time, the Star Tribune notes, before moving on to a halfway house and then eventually moving back into the community, where he'll be under intensive supervision, reports note.

There are strict conditions that come with his probation, including having no contact with the Waseca School District and no Internet access without approval, KEYC notes.

Judge Joseph Chase, who sentenced LaDue Monday, called on the community not to shun him when he returns to Waseca.

"Experts say that treating Mr. LaDue as a pariah is what not to do," he said, adding residents have a role to play in LaDue's future and in making sure the community remains safe, the Waseca Daily News reports.

"If he is again allowed to be an under-the-radar loner, the risk increases," Chase added, the paper says.

Monday's sentencing hearing comes after more than a year of legal proceedings. Prosecutors said LaDue detailed his plans to set off bombs at his high school and kill his family in a journal after investigators found bomb-making materials in his bedroom and a storage unit in 2014, which led to his arrest.

But LaDue's defense team argued he was never going to carry out that plan. As a result, attempted murder charges against him were dismissed.

LaDue's case was featured this month in a New Yorker story titled "Thresholds of Violence" by Malcolm Gladwell, where the writer looked at how school shootings catch on.

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