HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — Two Ohio students accused of failing to report that a classmate brought a loaded gun to school before he opened fire in the cafeteria have entered pleas in juvenile court.
The students entered “true” pleas Tuesday in Butler County Juvenile Court in Hamilton to misdemeanor charges of failure to report a crime. The judge said their pleas mean they relinquish their rights to a trial. They are to be sentenced Oct. 19.
The boys were charged after investigators determined they knew 15-year-old James Austin Hancock brought the gun to Madison Local Schools near Middletown. Two students were wounded by gunfire in the Feb. 29 shooting, and two others were hurt by shrapnel or while running away.
Hancock entered a true plea in April to four counts of attempted murder and inducing panic. He was sentenced to juvenile detention until he is 21 years old, when he will be free if he stays out of trouble.
It’s not clear what his motive was. He said before sentencing that he wanted the victims to know they weren’t targeted.
Rob Clevenger, director of the Butler County Juvenile Justice Center, said Wednesday the two boys face a range of sentencing options. The possibilities include a maximum of 90 days in a juvenile detention center, probation, counseling, community service and monetary fines, Clevenger said.
The Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reports that both students will be allowed to return to Madison Local Schools this fall and that their cellphones, confiscated during the criminal investigation, will be returned to them.
The Associated Press generally doesn’t identify juveniles charged with a crime, but Hancock’s name was widely reported.