Pennsylvania is as afflicted with the specter of high-school age shooters as every other state. As such events get publicized, the authorities may be learning to make quick arrests rather than risk the consequences of not acting. Occasionally, a parent or other alleged adult accomplice needs a good criminal defense counsel along with the child. The adult is likely to be charged with criminal neglect in not stopping the minor from possessing firearms or taking other threatening actions.
That situation recently played out in Fayette County when the police arrested the mother of a teenager who is accused of threatening to shoot several of his classmates at the Union Area High School. Police arrested the 14-year-old child on Jan. 25 based on witness accounts of his alleged statements that he was going to commit a mass shooting at the school. The boy allegedly boasted that it would be easy to smuggle firearms into the school in his knapsack.
The police arrested his 45-year-old mother on charges of intentionally delivering or providing a firearm to a minor. She allegedly allowed him to keep the weapons in his room because she wanted him to learn responsibility and learn how to “grow up.” Police obtained a warrant and searched the boy’s bedroom where they allegedly found a semi-automatic rifle, one shotgun, one revolver and several other weapons. They also say that they found bulk ammunition for the weapons.
The Pennsylvania authorities charged the boy with terroristic threats, possession of firearm by a minor and criminal attempt to commit catastrophe. If the police allegations are proved by credible evidence, the boy’s only viable defense strategy will be to enter into mental health treatment, and in this case, it will necessarily include a tenure of residential treatment. The mother’s criminal defense will depend on the facts and on the degree of criminal intent she displayed.
Source: newsweek.com, “Mother of Teen Who Plotted School Shooting Charged After Allowing Son to Keep Weapons in His Room“, Maria Perez, Feb. 13, 2018