NORRISTOWN, Pa. - A 14-year-old admitted yesterday that he planned a Columbine-style attack on a suburban Philadelphia high school, which could keep him in juvenile custody for up to 6 1/2 years.
Dillon Cossey's made the admission about two weeks after authorities searched his Plymouth Township home and found a 9mm rifle, swords, knives, a bomb-making book, videos of the 1999 Columbine attack in Colorado, violence-filled notebooks, and about 30 air guns modeled to look like high-powered weapons.
Cossey tried to recruit another youth in the plot, which included chaining shut the doors at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School and backing a car up to the door, Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. said yesterday. Cossey admitted to three felonies - criminal solicitation, risking a catastrophe, and possession of an instrument of crime - in Montgomery County juvenile court.
Michele Cossey, 46, is charged with buying her son a .22-caliber handgun, a .22-caliber rifle, and a 9mm semiautomatic rifle with a laser scope. She would face a maximum sentence of up to seven years in prison on the most serious charge, unlawful transfer of a firearm, but prosecutors expect her to get a much lighter sentence because she doesn't have a criminal record. The youth will be placed in juvenile custody. The longest he can remain there is until his 21st birthday. He will receive regular evaluations by Judge Paul Tressler.
"I'm going to make it clear to you and your parents, if you get to the point where you're ready to get home, but they're not worthy of having you, I'll send you somewhere else" such as to a relative or foster home, Tressler told Cossey.
Cossey acknowledged telling a friend that he wanted to pull off an attack similar to the 1999 assault on Columbine High School, saying, "the world would be better off without bullies," according to Castor.