Haines residents express shock at teenage murder plot

Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- News that two Haines teenage girls plotted to kill at least 22 classmates and teachers at Haines High School has shaken the Southeast community.

Many who know the girls described them as nice and normal.

The girls' names were not released to the public. But some residents in the Southeast community of about 2,800 know the identities of the two students apprehended at the 115-student school by police Friday.

A 15-year-old girl is charged with felony conspiracy to commit murder. Police say charges are pending against an alleged co-conspirator, a 14-year-old girl, who has been hospitalized on suicide watch.

Charges stem from a note, allegedly penned by one of the girls, found near a school office. It contained a list of people targeted and a plan of how and where to commit the murders, police said. They said other notes found in the girls' lockers listed other names.

Police said no further information will be released until their investigation has been completed.

Holly Davis, a volunteer in the district, said she was surprised by the allegations.

''If you would have asked me who was likely to lose it and do something like this I would never have picked those two,'' Davis told the Juneau Empire. ''They seemed like nice, normal girls.''

Overall, students seem to be relieved the girls were taken out of school. But the girls' friends are saying the school overreacted to the note, Davis said.

''They feel like the school came down hard on the kids,'' she said. ''But in this day and age you can't say 'Oh, what if they were just kidding,' because in other places, at other times, other kids weren't joking.''

Randy Harrop, a parent who said he knows the girls, said he doesn't agree with the district's tactics. Harrop said his daughter was suspended indefinitely Tuesday for refusing to tell officials what she knew about the alleged plot.

''I'm not defending what the girls did,'' said Harrop. ''They made a mistake. But really, do we want our kids' school to become like a police state? I know these girls. They wouldn't know what to do with a weapon if they had one.''

Davis said she could see where the girls' feelings of anger and hopelessness came from.

''It may just be a teenage angst thing,'' Davis said. ''You know this is the age where they start feeling alone in the world and maybe they thought people didn't care about them. We all went through this in one way or another.''

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