KENTUCKY — A George Rogers Clark High School student remains jailed after a preliminary hearing Tuesday in which prosecutors presented evidence that the student made terrorist threats in writing. The case was sent to a Clark County grand jury, which will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to indict William Poole, 18.
Poole was arrested and jailed Feb. 22 after writings found in his home revealed “terrorist threats” believed to be directed at students and employees of Clark High School, according to Winchester police.
Poole appeared at the hearing Tuesday with an attorney from the public defender’s office, circuit court clerk David Hunt said. Detective Steven Caudill, who arrested Poole at his home, was questioned by attorneys at the hearing, Hunt said.
Poole was arrested under suspicion of making terrorist threats, which is a felony. Under state law, a grand jury must weigh the charges and decide whether there is enough evidence to indict Poole.
Hunt said Poole’s writings were submitted to the court and have been sealed. The Winchester Sun has filed a motion to make Poole’s writings public, but a judge has not ruled on that request.
According to a report by a local television news Web site, Poole said he was arrested for a short story about zombies.
“My story is based on fiction,” Poole told Lex18.com. “It’s a fake story. I made it up. I’ve been working on one of my short stories, [and] the story they found was about zombies. Yes, it did say a high school. It was about a high school overran by zombies.”
Caudill and school officials dispute Poole’s claim. According to Caudill, the complaint against Poole reads: “Subject was in possession of writings [and] materials that outlined possible acts of violence towards police, teachers and students at the high school.”
“That right there in itself, we’re not talking about zombies here,” Caudill said. “We’re talking about people, real people. … It’s far more complicated than a story about a story about zombies, I can assure you that.”
According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Caudill read from Poole’s writings during his testimony.
“All the soldiers of Zone 2 started shooting,” Caudill read. “They’re dropping every one of them. After five minutes, all the people are lying on the ground dead.”
According to the Herald-Leader, “Zone 2” refers to Clark County in Poole’s writings.
Caudill confirmed Poole’s claim that he did not mention the names of any students or employees of Clark High School in his writings.
“There was no specific list naming any certain individuals,” Caudill said. “But now in general, teachers, police and students were mentioned. Nothing about zombies.
Under Kentucky law, a person is guilty of terroristic threatening in the second degree when they threaten to “commit any act likely to result in death or serious physical injury” to students, teachers or employees of a school.
“A threat directed at a person or persons or at a school does not need to identify a specific person or persons or school in order for a violation of this section to occur,” the law reads.
Poole will remain in the Clark County Detention Center until the grand jury convenes, Hunt said. Commonwealth prosecutor Tom Smith said he does not know when that will happen.
Smith declined to provide further comment on the case.
–By Campbell Roth
Read previous coverage
- Ky. high school student jailed for making “terroristic threats” in writing News Flash, 3/4/2005