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FIVE YEARS IN CYA FOR STUDENT IN BOMB PLOT VALENTINE'S DAY ATTACK PLANNED AT QUARTZ HILL.

Byline: KAREN MAESHIRO Staff Writer

LANCASTER -- A young man accused of planning a Columbine-style attack at Quartz Hill High School was sentenced Thursday to serve five years in a California Youth Authority facility.

Johnny Alvarez Casas, 18, described by his attorney as a ``sweet dumb kid'' with an IQ of 70, pleaded no contest last month to conspiracy to commit a crime and possession of bomb-making ingredients.

``This case should never have been brought to court. It was completely inappropriate evidence that they had against Johnny,'' said his attorney, James Stevens. ``He had no intention of ever hurting anyone.''

Stevens said Casas accepted the plea bargain because he otherwise risked 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the original charges, including conspiracy to commit murder.

Casas, who received 597 days of credit for time he already served in jail, will be eligible for parole as early as November, Stevens said.

Casas' co-defendant, a boy who turned 17 on Thursday, was sentenced earlier this month to confinement in the California Youth Authority for up to eight years after he admitted -- the equivalent of making a guilty plea in adult court -- to one count of conspiracy to commit mayhem. That boy's name has not been released because of his age.

Casas, who was 17 when arrested, was charged as an adult after a Sylmar Juvenile Court judge found him unfit to be tried as a juvenile.

Investigators said Casas and the other boy acquired bomb-making instructions off the Internet and were planning a Valentine's Day 2006 attack, including shooting students and using improvised explosive devices.

A sheriff's detective testified at Casas' preliminary hearing in June that the two teenagers intended to target those who had made fun of them or were mean to them.

Authorities said the boys -- who dressed in the style characterized by black clothing and nail polish -- felt ostracized at Quartz Hill High and wanted revenge.

They were arrested in December 2005 after a girl contacted a Quartz Hill High vice principal.

karen.maeshiro@dailynews.com

(661) 267-5744
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 19, 2007
Words:341
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