Waseca teen gets treatment, probation

Published 10:08 am Tuesday, October 20, 2015

WASECA — A teenager who told authorities he was planning a massacre at a Minnesota school was sentenced Monday to up to 10 years of probation, which will begin with treatment at a secure facility.

John LaDue, 18, of Waseca, was sentenced in Waseca County District Court on one count of possessing an explosive device. LaDue earlier pleaded guilty to the charge, and five other similar counts were dropped.

LaDue will serve five to 10 years of probation, including an unspecified amount of time at a secure treatment facility for autism spectrum disorder patients, the Star Tribune reported. He will eventually move to a halfway house and then supervision.

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In giving the sentence, Judge Joseph Chase reflected on the fear caused in the community because of the crime,LaDue’s diagnosis with autism spectrum disorder and the need for reintegration when LaDue returns, The Free Press of Mankato reported.

“The Waseca community likely has a role to play in minimizing the risk of danger in the future,” Chase said.

LaDue was 17 when authorities say he plotted an attack at Waseca Junior-Senior High School. In April 2014, a witness called police after she saw LaDue enter a storage locker. Police found him with bomb-making materials, and he told authorities that he planned to shoot his family then go to the school, kill the school’s police liaison officer, then kill as many of his fellow students as possible by setting off bombs and shooting them in the ensuring confusion.

He directed police to an extensive handwritten journal detailing his plans and admitted setting off incendiary devices around Waseca.

Both Waseca County Attorney Brenda Miller and Stephen Ferrazzano from the public defender’s office said they were satisfied with the sentence and LaDue’s placement at Devereux Georgia in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Miller said Devereux fit several requirements, including treating autism and taking young adults who have a fixation on violence.

“That is the most important component of his disorder to address,” she said.

“It is unfortunate that it (the Georgia facility) is so far away, but it ticks all the boxes that the state wanted,” Ferrazzano said.

LaDue declined to say anything before the judge sentenced him.

He initially was charged as a juvenile with attempted murder and eight other counts including damage to property and possession of a bomb by someone under 18. But the attempted murder and property-damage charges were dismissed, and a judge later certified him to stand trial as an adult.