Teen charged in Hilliard-Davidson High School murder plot arraigned as adult


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A teenager charged with conspiring to commit murder at Hilliard-Davidson High School made his first appearance in adult court Monday afternoon.

John Staley III, 17, was arrested last October after a fellow student told a school resource officer that Staley was overheard discussing plans for a mass shooting at the school.

Assistant prosecutor Joseph Gibson said Monday that Staley had tactical vests and gas masks at his home. “The defendant drew diagrams of the attempt.He did a lot of research on the internet into purchasing firearms and firearms parts,” Gibson said.

Staley was initially charged as a juvenile and was released to his home with electronic monitoring. Now, under indictment as an adult, his bond was revoked and he is back in custody.

Defense attorney Steve Palmer asked the court to consider releasing Staley again with electronic monitoring and supervision restrictions. “He went to counseling with his family and individually,” Palmer said. “He went back to school electronically where he did quite well and he didn’t get into trouble. As far as how he would respond – all we need to do is look at how he did respond and how he did behave and how he did conduct himself.”

Prosecutors argued that it is a different situation now that Staley is charged as an adult.

Bond was set at $250,000 with additional conditions of house arrest and no firearms if Staley does post bond.

“Whether he makes this bond or not – I don’t know,” Palmer said. “Obviously that’s a tall order. That’s a lot of money and it was clearly a bond designed to keep him incarcerated.”

Prosecutors say Staley had attempted to recruit other students to assist in his plan and had written down what weapon types and how much ammunition would be needed. They say he used his school-issued iPad and his personal cell phone and computer to research school shootings, how to obtain weapons and other disturbing information.

If convicted, Staley could face a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison.

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