WASECA, Minn. – Prosecutors announced in court Wednesday that they will appeal the dismissal of the most serious charges against a teenager accused of plotting to kill his family and set off a school massacre.
The case against 17-year-old John LaDue was put on hold with that announcement. A judge on Monday had dismissed four counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree damage to property against LaDue in juvenile court, saying prosecutors hadn’t shown that the boy’s actions went beyond “mere preparation.”
The judge let stand six counts of possession of explosive devices.
LaDue appeared in court Wednesday for a hearing where prosecutors were seeking to certify him to stand trial as an adult. That hearing was postponed while they appeal the dismissals.
Defense attorneys said they were surprised by the appeal Wednesday morning and indicated that they may ask the judge to reconsider the conditions under which LaDue is being held. He has been confined to a juvenile facility in Red Wing.
The appeal will delay the teen from getting into mental health treatment, defense attorney Steve Bergeson said after the hearing.
“The judge has to consider whether there are better conditions of release, specifically conditions that would allow John to begin mental health” treatment, he told reporters.
Two other juveniles, both 17, who were each charged with possessing and making explosive devices with LaDue appeared separately in court Wednesday, both entering denials of the charges. They were released to their parents with a list of conditions, including that they remain law-abiding and don’t possess explosives.
Some of the explosives were set off at a park and school ball fields, although charging documents say the accused teens did not know of LaDue’s plan to use explosives to kill students.
Their next court appearances were not yet scheduled.
Pam Louwagie • 612-673-7102