Accused hit-list girl tearful in court

NORWALK Tears flowed freely in the juvenile court room at the Huron County courthouse Tuesday mornin
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Tears flowed freely in the juvenile court room at the Huron County courthouse Tuesday morning.

Clad in jeans, a dressy black and white top and with blond hair pulled back in a ponytail, the 16-year old-girl accused of penning a list of Norwalk High School students and teacher she "would like to kill" sobbed as she waited for her hearing.

Murmurs of "I'm scared," escaped her lips as she and her family were escorted to their seats 20 minutes after the hearing was supposed to start due to the tardiness of her public defender.

Magistrate Danita A. Gilbert stated this would be the first hearing regarding allegation that the minor was unruly. Unruly charges usually arise when minors are not attending school, listening to their guardians or are endangering the health and morals of oneself or others.

Following a brief introduction of her rights and further proceedings, Gilbert asked George Ford, the public defender representing the girl, what the girl's plea would be.

"Denial," Ford responded.

After entering the plea and comments from Chief Probation Officer Phillip Charville about this being a first-time offense, temporary rules were laid out.

The high school freshman, who was expelled in late April from the high school after her journal was found with the list, was placed on temporary probation and ordered to stay off school grounds and not contact anyone on the list.

Charville read the names of each name on the list for clarification.

"The most important part of this," Gilbert noted, "is no association with the listed people."

Ford asked why there were so many people.

"Because those are all the people that are listed on the hit list," Charville responded.

Gilbert went on to stress that no association meant no communication through e-mail, cell phone, note or via friends.

"I don't talk to anyone really," the girl responded.

She exited the courtroom with her head down. Only once did she look up, eyes falling upon her mother who walked by her daughter's side. Her mother quietly said, "It'll be OK."

The girl is attending counseling and home-schooling with a tutor after the April incident that sparked her school expulsion and unruly charge.

Officer David Smith of the Norwalk Police Department filed a complaint April 20, declaring the teen unruly after being contacted by Norwalk High School Assistant Principal Brad Cooley. A staff member at the high school stumbled upon a notebook with the girl's name one the first page and a list of people she "would like to kill" on the third page.

After administering a risk assessment, police determined the girl was not a threat and no further action would be taken beyond the unruly charge.

Although unruly charges cannot lead to placement in a detention facility, if the girl were to break her probation, she could be found delinquent and charges could be harsher.

A court date to hear the case has not been set. The temporary probation is to last for about four to six weeks, which would give Ford, her public defender, and the girl time to prepare their case.

As the girl left the courtroom, Ford told her to give him a call. She said she didn't know his number. He said to look it up in the phone book under "Public Defender."