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Boy accused of plotting school admits illegally stockpiling guns
Student Arsenal PX1 5202878
Dillon Cossey, 14, arrives in the courtroom at the Montgomery County Courthouse for his hearing in Norristown, Pa., in this Oct. 12, 2007 file photo. Cossey, accused of plotting a Columbine-style attack on a suburban Philadelphia high school, admitted Friday, Oct. 26 that he illegally stockpiled weapons. Authorities said he could be held in juvenile custody as long as seven years. - photo by Associated Press
    NORRISTOWN, Pa. — A 14-year-old boy accused of plotting a Columbine-style attack on a suburban Philadelphia high school admitted in court Friday that he illegally stockpiled weapons.
    Dillon Cossey, 14, admitted to three crimes — criminal solicitation, risking a catastrophe and possession of an instrument of crime — in Montgomery County juvenile court.
    Cossey, a home-schooled student from Plymouth Township, was arrested earlier this month. He tried to recruit another boy in the plan, which included chaining shut the doors at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. said Friday.
    He had amassed a stockpile of weapons, including a 9 mm semiautomatic rifle, about 30 air-powered guns modeled to look like higher-powered weapons, swords, knives, a bomb-making book, videos of the 1999 Columbine high school attack in Colorado and violence-filled notebooks, authorities said.
    The boy will be placed in juvenile custody. The longest he can remain there is until his 21st birthday.
    Cossey will receive regular evaluations by the 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.
    Authorities accused Cossey’s mother, Michele, of helping him build his weapons cache.
    Michele Cossey, 46, is charged with illegally buying her son a .22-caliber handgun, a .22-caliber rifle and a 9 mm semiautomatic rifle with a laser scope.
    Cossey took the stand during Friday’s hearing and mostly answered yes and no questions.
    Cossey admitted telling a friend that he wanted to stage an attack similar to the 1999 assault on Columbine High School in Colorado, telling him, ‘‘The world would be better off without bullies,’’ according to Castor.
    The teen previously attended middle school in the district but had been taught at home for more than a year after voluntarily leaving school.
    The boy’s attorney, J. David Farrell, read from a letter that Cossey wrote earlier this week.
    ‘‘First off, I would like to apologize for the trouble I caused,’’ the letter said. ‘‘I realize now that I was not thinking correctly. I want everyone to know that what was in my room does not change what was in my heart.’’
    Castor said Cossey described to police being bullied only a few times, but Farrell believes it was more frequent.
    ‘‘My investigation has really disclosed that he has been the subject of protracted and profound peer abuse his whole life. It drove him from school,’’ Farrell said.
    Authorities do not believe the teen was close to pulling off an attack; he had no ammunition and the teen he approached was the first he had asked for assistance.
    Farrell said people who know Cossey don’t think he would have followed through.
    ‘‘I think it was largely a fantasy that was beginning to cross the line,’’ Farrell said.
    The mother bought the semiautomatic rifle at a gun show on Sept. 23 and provided police with a receipt, investigators have said. The teenager said the two .22-caliber weapons were stored at a friend’s house.
    Police, who searched the boy’s home with his parents’ permission, also discovered seven explosive devices Castor has described as homemade grenades: plastic containers filled with BBs to which gunpowder could be added. Authorities said one was operable and the others had been in the process of being assembled.

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