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Judge evokes Columbine massacre memories when sentencing teen who threatened school

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Posted at 1:27 PM, Oct 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-04 15:29:00-04

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — A judge evoked memories of the Columbine High School massacre during the sentencing of a local student who threatened violence at Prairie View High School on Wednesday. 

Police arrested Frank DeFiore, 18, in March after school officials reported their concern over threats he posted on social media. Brighton Police Department officials said he threatened to shoot students at the school and posted photos of weapons on his Twitter account. 

"To say the facts of this case are disturbing is a gross understatement," Deputy District Attorney Jake Woods told the judge while asking for conditions to be imposed upon a probation sentence.

The judge agreed, giving a maximum 18-month jail sentence for DeFiore to serve if he fails to comply with terms of the probation. DeFiore pleaded guilty to criminal mischief and interference with staff and students at an educational facility. He'll have to undergo a psychological evaluation and treatment, substance abuse evaluation and a program for victim empathy and decision making.

In new details from the teen's affidavit, released after DeFiore's sentencing, laid out their probable cause to arrest the teen after multiple run-ins with officials, including for stealing a handgun from a former school employee in 2016. 

Officers say they made the call to arrest DeFiore after he posted photos with an AK-47 rifle that authorities eventually found and confiscated from the teen's room, along with other weapons including a shotgun. Accompanying the post was a statement that he should receive an "award of excellence" in recognition to "me, for not killing everyone at school." Those posts have since been deleted. 

Interviews with school employees and students found DeFiore made many at the school uncomfortable, which the judge used as the basis for issuing a protection order against DeFiore for the school's campus.

In the affidavit, police said they had information that "suggests Frank is possibly involved in the disappearance and possible death of a dog belonging to Athletic Director Heath Wilson," the report read. Police said Commerce City officers took a report on that possible crime. 

The judge referenced the missing dog during the sentencing, saying DeFiore exhibited warning signs for future violence that are seen in mass shootings. He said those signs were seen in Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who killed 13 victims at Columbine High School before taking their own lives. 

The judge said the dog's bloody collar was located hidden in his bedroom, leading the judge to issue a warning to the 18-year-old.

"You have some things you need to deal with or you're going to get into the court system and not get out," Adams County District Court Judge Don Quick said. 

Quick mandated DeFiore not obtain any guns or knives in the future, and ruled police should destroy the guns and knives they confiscated from DeFiore during the investigation.