S.C. teen accused in school plot wanted to kill Jesus

Apr. 29--FLORENCE --The mother of a high school senior who plotted to blow up Chesterfield High School warned a police dispatcher that her son might try to shoot officers if approached.

The 911 tape was played in federal court Tuesday as magistrate Thomas E. Rogers III weighed whether 18-year-old Ryan A. Schallenberger needed a mental evaluation.

Rogers is expected to decide in the next few days whether Schallenberger will be evaluated.

Schallenberger faces federal charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction; attempting to damage, by means of an explosive, property of an institution receiving federal funds; and receiving an explosive in interstate commerce with the intent to kill, injure, and intimidate any person and unlawfully damage property.

If convicted of the federal charges, the straight-A Chesterfield High School senior could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Schallenberger also faces state charges of making bomb threats and possession of explosive materials.

It appears that several hundred pages of documents, some detailing bomb-making, were deleted according to a State Law Enforcement Division analysis of Schallenberger's computer, said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent Craig Townsend.

On the tape Laurie Sittley mother told the dispatcher, "This time he just slammed his head through the wall and if the police come here, he's going to shoot them."

Townsend testified Schallenberger told a Chesterfield County sheriff's detective that "once he got to heaven, he was gonna kill Jesus or something like that."

Townsend also testified Schallenberger waived his miranda rights and told officers he wanted to kill himself.

"Ryan began (becoming) upset stating that he wanted to die. Death was better than his life. He only wanted to kill himself," Townsend said reading a Chesterfield detective's statement.

In a motion filed last week, prosecutors say Schallenberger, 18, should "be examined to determine whether he is suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent" and unable to understand the charges he faces or to assist in his own defense.

Over the past year, police say, Schallenberger planned to bomb the school.

His parents called police April 19 when they intercepted a delivery of ammonium nitrate -- a fertilizer that, when combined with diesel fuel, can be used to make a bomb.

The man who reportedly sold Schallenberger the fertilizer on eBay was a gun enthusiast advertising the product as a substitute for tannerite, used in explosive targets, said Townsend.

Investigators later found a yearlong journal Schallenberger had kept and DVDs of two of the most tragic days in American history -- the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building and the 1999 Columbine High School shootings in Colorado.

Schallenberger had approximately 20 pounds of ammonium nitrate his parents turned over to law enforcement, federal court documents say.

He admitted he already made two to four pipe bombs, documents say.

Copyright (c) 2008, The State, Columbia, S.C. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.


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