Haines reacts to murder plot claims

Residents surprised by charges that teens were plotting to kill

Posted: Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Some Haines residents are surprised two "nice" and "normal" girls from their 115-student high school stand accused of plotting to kill at least 22 of their classmates and teachers.

The girls' names were not released to the public. But some people in the northern Lynn Canal community of about 2,800 know the identities of the two students taken from Haines High School by police Friday afternoon.

A 15-year-old girl is charged with felony conspiracy to commit murder, said Haines Police Chief Greg Goodman. A second girl, 14, an alleged co-conspirator, was hospitalized. Goodman said charges will be filed upon her release.

Charges stem from a note, allegedly penned by one of the girls, found near a school office. It allegedly contained a list of people to kill and a plan of how and where to commit the murders, police said. They said other notes found in the girls' lockers listed other names.

No further information about the case will be released until police finish their investigation, said a Haines Police press release.

Holly Davis, a volunteer in the district, said she was surprised to hear who was accused of plotting the killings.

"If you would have asked me who was likely to lose it and do something like this I would never have picked those two," said Davis. "They seemed like nice, normal girls."

Overall, students seem to be relieved the two girls were taken out of school.

"I heard one student say he was glad the school 'got rid of those two,' " Davis said. "I think it's good that the other kids are seeing it as something abnormal ... although I would have thought they would have sympathized more with their fellow students."

Davis said the girls' friends are saying the school overreacted to the note.

"They feel like the school came down hard on the kids," she said. "But in this day and age you can't say Oh, what if they were just kidding,' because in other places, at other times, other kids weren't joking."

Randy Harrop, a parent who said he knows the girls, said he doesn't agree with the district's tactics. Harrop said his daughter was suspended indefinitely Tuesday for refusing to tell officials what she knew about the alleged plot.

"I'm not defending what the girls did," said Harrop. "They made a mistake. ... But really, do we want our kids' school to become like a police state? ... I know these girls. ... They wouldn't know what to do with a weapon if they had one."

Davis said she could see where the girls' feelings of anger and hopelessness came from.

"It may just be a teenage angst thing," Davis said. "You know this is the age where they start feeling alone in the world and maybe they thought people didn't care about them. We all went through this in one way or another."

Calls Tuesday and today made to high school Principal Charlie Jones were not returned. On Monday, he said counseling was available for students who needed it. By Monday morning, three of 115 students went to counseling.

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