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Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI)

December 1, 1998

Author: Jennifer Batog Associated Press

Psychological examinations were ordered Monday for three boys accused of plotting to gun down students and educators at their high school.

Racine County Circuit Judge Wayne J. Marik ordered the exams for two of the three boys during motions hearings. Judge Stephen A. Simanek ordered the test for the third youth after the boy’s defense attorney and prosecutors told the judge they did not need a hearing. Dates for the evaluations were not immediately determined.

Juvenile petitions charge the boys, all 15 or 16, with three counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree intentional homicide at Burlington High School. Hearings have been set for mid-December on whether to charge the youths as adults.

Authorities have said the psychological tests would help determine whether the boys should be charged as adults.

Marik also denied defense attorney David Saldana’s request to release his client to a hospital for the psychological evaluation and to receive treatment for previously diagnosed mental problems.

Saldana told the court his client, who sat motionless at a table throughout the hearing, was taking medication for psychological problems and had previously been treated for them.  Saldana declined to specify what his client was suffering from but said the boy had been treated for depression.

Marik refused to release the boy to a hospital, saying there was no indication that being in juvenile detention was detrimental to his mental health.   “It’s not as if we have a report that says this individual is suffering,” Marik said.

The judge also said he was concerned because there was no indication of how secure the hospital would be. If it is later shown that being held is harming the youth’s mental health, the request could be reconsidered, Marik said.

All three boys have been held in juvenile detention since Nov. 15. Their requests for release have been denied.

Authorities said they discovered the plot after receiving a tip from an informant. Two other boys who sought to back out of the plan were released to their parents.

Police said the group plotted to steal guns from one of the boy’s fathers, take control of the school and go from classroom to classroom singling out students they wanted to kill.

One of those youths has said he and his friends were joking about the plot and never intended to carry it out.