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US Teen Found Guilty Over School Shooting Plot
An Oklahoma teenager has been convicted of threatening to kill students and teachers at his US school.
Sammie Eaglebear Chavez, who authorities say tried to recruit classmates for a mass shooting and bomb attack at Bartlesville High School, was found guilty of planning to cause bodily harm.
The jury at Washington County district court recommended a 30-month prison term and a $5,000 (£3,112) fine.
The 19-year-old was found not guilty of conspiring to perform an act of violence.
He was arrested in December, hours before gunman Adam Lanza opened fire at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, killing 20 children and six adults before taking his own life.
Chavez, who pleaded not guilty, claimed in his own defence that he was joking when he told classmates about how a shooting and bomb attack could be carried out at his school.
"It was a joke in the sense that it wasn't meant seriously," Chavez told jurors, the Tulsa World newspaper reported.
Police and prosecutors said Chavez intended to lure students into the school's auditorium, chain the doors shut and shoot them.
He also planned to place bombs by the auditorium doors and detonate them as police officers approached, according to court documents.
Bartlesville police officer Jacob Moran testified that after arresting Chavez he found notes in the teenager's pockets saying that "those who deserve to die will be killed" and that those who survive "will be forced to witness it", according to the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise.
Chavez said he had no intention to shoot or bomb the school but admitted he was "angry at the world" and that writing the notes was a way for him "to release feelings of anger".
Prosecutors said Chavez tried to obtain a map of the school campus and had used a school computer to get information about a platform to support a .22-calibre rifle.
A student informed school officials about the plot who called police. No one was injured.
Chavez's mother had said her son sent her a text message two days before his arrest saying he wanted to "shoot up" the high school because he thought some students were talking about him behind his back. But she also said she did not think her son would have carried out the attack.
"Deep down, I don't think my son would have done this," Jessie Chavez said shortly after her son was arrested. "That's not my son. My son laughs and makes jokes. He's always pulling pranks."
She also said her son showed symptoms of possible mental illness and had been seeing a therapist, but the court ordered him to stand trial following a mental competency exam.