Saturday, 2:15 PM
Ex-student sentenced to serve 6 months for Marshfield plot
By Emily Sweeney, Globe Staff
BROCKTON - Joseph Nee was handcuffed today moments after being given a sentence that will keep him in prison for six months for his role in plotting a Columbine-style ambush at Marshfield High School in 2004.
Nee sat silently as the Plymouth Superior Court clerk outlined his fate: The total sentence spanned 2 1/2 years and included 2 years probation. Judge Charles M. Grabau ordered Nee to spend 9 months of that in the Plymouth House of Correction, but gave him credit for 92 days he has already served. The remaining 21 months of the sentence was suspended.
Nee, now a 21-year-old student at Bunker Hill Community College, is the son of Thomas J. Nee, the president of the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association. Thomas J. Nee said after the hearing that the family was “heartbroken.”
Nee's lawyer, Thomas Drechsler, vowed to appeal. His client faced up to 20 years in prison. Nee, who has been free on $20,000 bail since January 2005, was taken into custody.
The sentence came after a four-day bench trial that included testimony from a dozen witnesses. Nee was acquitted of two other charges: promotion of anarchy and threatened use of deadly weapons at a school.
It also marked the end of a disturbing case that sent shockwaves through the town of Marshfield in the fall of 2004, when Nee and his friend, 16-year-old Tobin Kerns, were accused of conspiring to kill students and faculty at Marshfield High.
Authorities learned about the plan in September of that year, when Nee went to police with two classmates and told officers that Kerns was planning a massacre at the school.
Nee told police the plan involved taking ammunition and explosive devices into the school, securing the school's exit doors with bicycle locks, and shooting students and staff. Police arrested Kerns the following day.
Police didn't arrest Nee until a month later, after friends of Kerns implicated Nee as the mastermind of the plot. The two youths were once close friends; Nee lived at the Kernses' home for a month during the spring of 2004.
Kerns's father, Ben, said that the boys had a falling out and that he believed Nee was trying to frame his son.
A grand jury returned indictments against Nee and Kerns in October 2004, charging both with conspiracy to commit murder, promotion of anarchy, and threatened use of deadly weapons at a school. Kerns and Nee pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Kerns was tried and found guilty of threatening to use deadly weapons and conspiracy to commit murder. In November, he was sentenced to 10 months in jail. He is being held at the Plymouth House of Correction.
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