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Teen Who Planned School Massacre Learns His Fate

Wash. teen turned in by grandma gets 22 years
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2019 3:48 AM CST
In this Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 photo, Joshua O'Connor listens to his attorney before pleading guilty to attempted first-degree murder, unlawful possession of an explosive device and robbery at the Snohomish...   (Andy Bronson/The Herald via AP)

(Newser) – A Washington state teenager reported to authorities by his grandmother after she saw plans for a school massacre has been sentenced to 22 years in prison. Everett resident Joshua O'Connor, 19, pleaded guilty in December to charges including attempted first-degree murder and possession of an explosive device, KOMO reports. His grandmother—who asked Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Bruce Weiss to show mercy—called 911 in February last year after she discovered journal entries in which O'Connor wrote of "needing" to kill as many people at Aces High School as possible to become "infamous." "I can't wait. My aim has gotten much more accurate," he wrote.

Grandmother Catherine Katsel O'Connor also discovered a semi-automatic rifle that O'Connor had hidden in a guitar case. "To me, ma'am, you are a hero," Weiss told her, saying he was convinced the teen would have tried to carry out the plot. "Had you not intervened, there would have been many, many lives that would have been lost, including your own grandson’s." O'Connor's defense team had sought a 12-year sentence, arguing that as a child, O'Connor was neglected by his mother, who sometimes left him to care for his younger sisters for days without food and water, reports KIRO 7. A psychologist testified that the teen suffered from major depressive disorder and may have had a traumatic brain injury after a concussion in 2017. (Read more school shooting stories.)

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