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Waseca teen accused in terror plot denies charges

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The Waseca teenager who is accused in a plot to kill his family and bomb his school denied the charges against him in court on Monday, according to reports.

John LaDue, 17, has been charged with four counts of attempted murder, two counts of first-degree damage to property and six counts of possession of a bomb. Denying the charges in the case is equal pleading not guilty, the Star Tribune reports.

He is currently being charged as a juvenile, but the judge ordered a study, which includes psychological exams, to determine whether he should be charged as an adult, the Associated Press reports. The study could take until at least July, the Star Tribune notes.

If LaDue is convicted of one count of attempted first-degree murder as an adult, he could serve up to 18 years in prison, the Star Tribune says. If he’s convicted as a juvenile, he could be released from a detention center when he turns 21, the newspaper notes.

LaDue wore an orange jumpsuit and his arms and legs were in shackles when he was brought into the courthouse on Monday. He was ordered to continue staying at a juvenile facility in Red Wing, the Star Tribune says. A probable cause hearing has been scheduled for June 18.

Police say LaDue idolized the Columbine High School killers and detailed his plot in a notebook, according to a criminal complaint. First he intended to kill his mother, father and sister, and then he planned to head to Waseca Junior/Senior High School, where he’d create a diversion to distract first responders. The teen then planned to set off pressure-cooker bombs full of nails and metal ball bearings in the cafeteria. Amid the ensuing chaos, he intended to fatally shoot more students.

LaDue’s plot was thwarted when an alert citizen noticed him acting suspiciously at a storage locker in Waseca, according to a criminal complaint. Police were called to the scene, where they found LaDue and he told them of his plans.

LaDue is also accused of leaving three small explosive devices on a playground at Hartley Elementary School back in March. Two of them were found detonated, one failed to ignite, police said.

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