Another teen charged in murder plot at Denver-area school

AP News
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Posted: Jan 14, 2016 3:43 PM

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (AP) — Two 16-year-old girls have now been charged as adults in an alleged plot to kill classmates at a suburban Denver high school.

Prosecutors on Thursday charged Brooke Higgins with two counts of conspiracy to commit murder, saying she researched places where teens could by guns online. Higgins wrote in her journal that she wished she could have been part of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and did internet searches for female mass shooters, prosecutors said.

A judge set her bond at $1 million after prosecutors argued she was a danger to the community.

Her defense attorney, Dagny Van Der Jagt, argued against the charges and wants the case to be tried in juvenile court.

Higgins and Sienna Johnson were arrested Dec. 12 after police were alerted via a text-a-tip program developed for schools. Prosecutors said they worked together to form plans to attack classmates at Mountain Vista High School in the affluent suburb of Highlands Ranch.

But Van Der Jagt said the teens were not close friends and their cases are different.

"They have very different personalities, backgrounds, interests," she said after Thursday's hearing. "They have been linked by what I call very weak circumstantial inferences." Juvenile court is a better place for Higgins because it focuses more on treatment and therapy than incarceration, said Van Der Jagt, who told the judge her client struggles with depression.

Prosecutors charged Johnson with the same crimes earlier this month. She also remains jailed on $1 million bond. They allege Johnson mapped plans for the attack and bought a BB gun for practice. Higgins warned a friend about the plans for the shooting, and a search of her cell phone showed she visited Armslist.com, an online gun site, prosecutors said.

Johnson's public defender, Ara Ohanian, has said the allegations against her have been exaggerated.