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Judge rules in bomb threat case

June 16, 1999

The case of a 14-year-old Hancock Middle-Senior High School student charged in a May 4 bomb threat at the school will be handled as an informal incident, according to a ruling Wednesday by Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell.

All involved in the case agreed that the matter, which had been set for a delinquency hearing, would be better handled in that fashion.

The factors in making that decision were discussed at the bench and were not made public.

Defense attorney Michael Morrissette told McDowell that his client denied involvement in the incident, which involved a poem written on a piece of paper and found in a magazine.

That poem, which Morrissette recited, was in a magazine that the boy had been given while in detention earlier that day.

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"This is a bomb threat as you see, it will be very much fun for me" was the text of the note, Morrissette said.

After a consultation with the judge and Morrissette, Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Gina Cirincion said the recommendation for the informal handling had been agreed upon as the best course of action.

The note was found by Principal Robert Myers, who notified Hancock Police Chief Donald Gossage.

Gossage said May 6 that the note probably was meant as a joke but added no one was taking such cases lightly after the deaths at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.

After he was charged, the youth was returned to his parents' custody and has been with them since.

Morrissette told the boy that a curfew and other disciplinary measures might be imposed but that he would not be removed from his home.

- Marlo Barnhart

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