WASHINGTON — A high school senior who was charged with a felony for talking about shooting dozens of his classmates and keeping a notebook about the scheme has had his charge reduced to a misdemeanor and can return to school in fall if officials invite him back.
Originally charged with a felony of a threat to kill, Lance Timmering, 17, pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct in the Stevens County District Court on June 11. He was sentenced to pay a $75 fine, complete mental health counseling, publish letters of apology to the community and serve one year of probation, but Northport High School may choose to let him return for his senior year if he “remains in good behavior,” Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen said.
Two faculty members overheard Timmering in April speaking about chaining the doors of the school shut to shoot students. Timmering was later found in possession of a notebook that had the word “Assassination” written on the cover and contained notes on how to kill 20 to 30 people.
Principal Patsy Guglielmino, who placed him on emergency suspension before contacting authorities, has said to local news media that she felt compelled to take action on any possible threat in light of the Columbine High School and Virginia Tech University shootings.
Timmering later said he was merely inventing a video game inspired by the CSI television show and the Internet and did not intend to carry out his plans.
Rasmussen said he reduced Timmering’s charge from a felony to a misdemeanor because of “slim legal basis” for the felony charge. Rasmussen said students Timmering spoke to about the shootings did not report feeling threatened, the young man had no prior contact with law enforcement and local authorities received several letters of support for the student from the small community.
“The people who knew him best knew that he was just being stupid and that he wasn’t dangerous,” Rasmussen said.
Timmering could not be reached for comment.