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SCV Instagram threat suspect denies charge

Posted: August 19, 2014 5:33 p.m.
Updated: August 19, 2014 5:33 p.m.

The 15-year-old boy arrested last weekend and accused of threatening to kill Valencia High School students denied the felony criminal charge in juvenile court Tuesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said.

The boy, whose identity is protected by law because he is under the age of 18, appeared in Sylmar Juvenile Court on Filbert Street in Sylmar, where he denied the single felony charge of making criminal threats, spokesman Greg Risling said Tuesday.

In Juvenile Court, those accused of a crime have the option of either admitting to the charge or denying it, he said. Pleas of guilty or not guilty are not entered.

The youth was arrested Sunday morning at his home in Canyon Country on suspicion of posting threats against students online through Instagram.

One of the threatening messages he posted was addressed to “the people who live in the SCV area” and read in part, “There will be a huge (expletive) shooting soon and a lot of you (expletive)s are going to die. We are aiming our guns mostly at high school students so you pieces of (expletive) better be ready because blood will be shed and families will suffer.”

The teen was placed in custody under the care of the Los Angeles Probation Department, Deputy Josh Dubin said at the time of the arrest.

Speaking in general terms about how juveniles face justice, Risling said, “If the minor is detained, the case is presented directly to our office for review.”

“It is the Probation Department’s decision on whether the minor remains detained, and (the department) utilizes a number of factors in making that decision,” he said.

The boy is scheduled to appear back in Juvenile Court Sept. 5, but the proceedings are unlikely to be open to the public or press, Risling said.

In a separate and unrelated case, deputies arrested a 13-year-old boy Monday for allegedly making threats by texting a message about school violence to a friend, who posted it on Instagram. Details about that posting were not released.

The 13-year-old suspect, who reportedly intended the message as a practical joke, was also placed in the custody of probation officers. Both he and the recipient of his text were Canyon High School students, investigators said.

“I have no information on the 13-year-old,” Risling said Tuesday.

Aside from the fact that both cases involved online postings to Instagram and allegedly contained content related to school violence, the cases are not related, Dubin stressed both on the phone and in a news release issued Monday.

In the case involving the 15-year-old, deputies working with parents and school officials were able to arrest a suspect within 12 hours of the threats posted online. Instagram cooperated with the investigation, officials said.

The 15-year-old suspect, who remains in custody, acted alone, had no weapons in his possession and had no real intent to carry out acts of violence as allegedly threatened, Lt. John Roberts told reporters gathered at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s station Sunday.

On Monday, as promised, deputies stepped up their presence at local schools as the first full week of classes for the 2014-15 school year began.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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