Juvenile trial sought for Pa. school plot suspect

January 7, 2009 9:27:30 AM PST
A Montgomery County high school student is being charged with attempted murder. NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - December 24, 2008 The lawyer for a 15-year-old boy accused of plotting a massacre at his southeastern Pennsylvania high school is trying to have his client tried in juvenile court.

Montgomery County prosecutors charged the Pottstown High School freshman as an adult because of the violent nature of the plans the boy is accused of making. Police say the boy stole his father's guns as part of the plan.

Defense laywer Stephen Heckman filed court papers Tuesday saying that transferring the attempted murder and other charges to juvenile court "will serve the public interest."

Heckman's client is awaiting trial in a mental hospital.


Information from: The Mercury, http://www.pottsmerc.com

The above information is Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Action News has identified the teen as as 15-year-old Richard Yanis. Investigators say the 15-year-old had three guns - a 45mm, a 22mm, and a 357 magnum with 300 rounds of ammunition.

The investigation started on November 11 when the teen's father had initially reported the three handguns stolen. After a month-long investigation police determined the son had stolen the guns and had given them to a friend to hold. Eventually that friend told his mother after he tossed the guns and ammunition into Pottstown's Manatawny Creek.

The friend is not facing charges because police say he didn't know why Yanis had the guns or what his plans were.

Prosecutors say the plot was planned for some time after New Years. There was no hit list.

Yanis is being charged with Attempted Murder with a Deadly Weapon. He is also being charged as an adult since there is no juvenile status for the given charge.

The 15 year old suspect's parents sent out a family spokesperson from their home to simply express the turmoil their lives have been thrown into... and their desire to be left alone.

While neighbors here describe Richard Yanis as a polite, respectful young man... his classmates at Pottstown High School describe him as a timid person who had a hard time making friends.

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