Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Michael Moore has inspired not just gun control activists: Lancaster County District Judge Karen Flowers acquits Malcom high school kid who wanted to stage a "Bowling for Columbine" attack on insanity groundsWORLD-HERALD A Malcolm, Neb., teenager, who authorities said planned a Columbine-style attack at his high school, was ruled not responsible by reason of insanity Tuesday. Lancaster County District Judge Karen Flowers ruled that Joshua Magee, now 18, could not distinguish between right and wrong due to mental illness when he drove a car with a trunk full of weapons to Malcolm High School on March 16, 2004. During an August trial, a psychiatrist testified that Magee believed voices from God had ordered the attack, which he abandoned after opening the trunk of his car, which was loaded with homemade explosives and a bolt-action rifle. He was arrested at school that day, dressed in a black trench coat and camouflage pants. Magee was charged with attempted first-degree murder, use of a weapon to commit a felony and using explosives to commit a felony. Magee, dressed in a blue jail jumpsuit, did not speak during the brief hearing today. ... Magee's lawyer, Deputy Lancaster County Public Defender Scott Helvie, said the ruling was consistent with the expert testimony presented at the trial. "All the doctors agreed, including the state's doctor, that he suffered from a major psychiatric disorder that caused him to be psychotic," Helvie said. While a doctor called by the prosecution testified that Magee knew the consequences of his actions, the defense needed to prove only by the preponderance of the evidence that Magee was not responsible due to insanity. Flowers ordered Magee to undergo an evaluation at the Lincoln Regional Center to determine if he is dangerous to himself or others and if he should be incarcerated there for the protection of himself and the public. The evaluation must be completed within 90 days. Both the prosecution and defense can ask for additional evaluations. Lancaster County Attorney Gary Lacey said the ruling was not a surprise. But he said his office would seek another examination if the Regional Center finds that Magee is not dangerous. Court documents stated that Magee suffered from bipolar disorder. At school, he was the subject of taunts and called "Moss" by classmates; he also talked frequently of guns and the documentary film about the Columbine massacre, "Bowling for Columbine."

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