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South Pasadena teens in alleged school shooting plot face new charges

Two South Pasadena teens accused of planning a mass shooting at their high school faced two new charges Monday.

Greg Risling, a spokesman with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, said prosecutors amended their complaint against the pair to include one count of conspiracy to commit murder and one count of conspiracy to commit assault with a deadly weapon.

The 16- and 17-year-old boys pleaded not guilty in August to one count of making criminal threats against another teen. The names of the accused have not been released because of their age.

Shortly after their arrest, South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller said the two teens had developed a “huge plan” to carry out a mass school shooting in which they wanted to kill “as many people as possible.”

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They swapped ideas over Skype about using explosives and firearms to target three school staff members and kill as many students as they could, according to authorities. Police, notified of the potential threat by a school administrator, monitored the teenagers’ communications.

Further court proceedings were postponed until Sept. 25 in light of the new charges.

Bruce Margolin, who was representing one of the defendants, said the new charges are very serious. Margolin has stepped down as the teen’s attorney while he considers the new charges. A public defender has been appointed.

Still, Margolin said he doesn’t believe prosecutors will have enough evidence to get convictions on the two new charges.

Prosecutors will need to prove that the teen committed an overt act to push the alleged mass-shooting plot forward.

“In this case they only have Internet research and phone calls,” Margolin said.

The district attorney’s office did submit additional evidence Monday, he said. One is an audio recording of the defendant’s friend, but Margolin said he had not yet been able to listen to it.

The teen he represented “got good grades, a B average and hasn’t missed a day of school,” Margolin said. “There were no weapons found, no attempt to get a weapon. None of this has been established by prosecutors.”

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