Charges against Arizona teens in alleged murder plot dropped

AP News
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Posted: Mar 27, 2015 5:01 PM

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Prosecutors say there isn't solid evidence that five Arizona high school students who were charged with conspiracy to commit murder actually planned to carry out the killing of a fellow student.

Four of the students are underage but were charged as adults after their March 18 arrest. The fifth student is 18 years old.

Tucson police arrested the Flowing Wells High School students after another student told a school employee about the alleged plot.

"There was not sufficient evidence of agreement, which is required for conspiracy (charges)," said Chief Criminal Deputy Kellie Johnson of the Pima County Attorney's Office. "We don't think there is substantial evidence that we can expect a conviction."

The students will no longer face any charges, although one of them who had a knife at school could still be charged for carrying a weapon on campus.

Police said after the arrest that the students had an elaborate plan to kill another student they'd been having problems with.

County Attorney Barbara LaWall said in a statement that the students only speculated and talked about ways in which the student might be killed, but that the discussion never went past that.

"While it is certainly highly disturbing and extremely alarming that teenagers would even engage in conversations such as these directed at a classmate, there is a clear lack of substantial evidence to prove that an agreement or intent to actually commit murder existed," she wrote.