13 Year Old Minor in Court for Internet Threats

Cala Smoldt/staff reporter

Mercer County Court reviewed a temporary detention order today (Feb. 11) in court.

Official charges were not read in court for a case involving a 13 year old minor. State's Attorney Greg McHugh asked for an extension on the detention order in place for the minor. McHugh believes the child could be a possible threat, "impulsive behavior," McHugh said, "He had a plan to hurt other students with a gun."

Attorney Robert Tappa, in defense of the minor said the family and child have, "taken the matter seriously." They intend to seek counseling at Robert Young Center, and they are, "totally committed to making sure it doesn't happen again."

Tappa believes the week long experience in secure detention at Mary Davis has served it's purpose. "Further detention is not necessary." He said the family will comply to deliver the most beneficial result to 'the minor'. Attorney Tappa said there has been no decision from the Sherrard School district at this time, and that they would like to see the evaluation before they determine whether or not he may return.

State's Attorney McHugh said, "(the minor) will not ever be going back to the Sherrard School system."

Mercer County Director of probation services, Vicky Hanson, explained the possibility of home detention to the court. Catholic Charities Center for Youth and Families can provide a less expense option to secure detention. They would randomly call and stop by the home to check on the child's whereabouts. Judge Burglund asked if she would be comfortable going this route in this case, and she said yes.

As Judge Burglund delivered his decision in the matter he described that the minor had, "Allegedly committed two serious offenses, and is currently in detention," he went on to describe that in the evaluation provided by Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Statham, it detailed that continued detention would not be in the minor's best interest.

He decided to allow the minor to be released in home detention with conditions specifying that the parents turn over a handgun to the sheriff's department, the minor is to have no access to the internet, they prefer the father stay home with the child 24/7, and they are to have no contact with any members of the Sherrard school district (unless the school initiates).

The parents of the child maintain that all hunting equipment has been removed from the home and resides in a secure location, and there is nothing in the home that can be used as a firing weapon.

Defense Attorney Tappa clarified with the judge that continual contact with school could indeed be maintained as Sherrard school district has given the minor homework and and has allowed it to be turned back in for (the minor's) benefit.

Through joyful tears the minor's handcuffs were unlocked as he was released to his parents after court.

A pre-trial is set for March 11 in Mercer County Court. The parents of the minor were ordered to pay costs of the weeks' secure detention at Mary Davis in Galesburg, the evaluation, and costs for home detention.

Juvenile files are secured and exact charges cannot be reported upon unless it's recited in court.