A Williamsburg Academy student has been denied bond in connection to threats he allegedly made to fellow students. On April 30, a 16-year-old male suspect was taken into custody and charged with Threatening an Act of Terrorism, a Class B felony, which carries a penalty of prison from 25 years to life. Later that day he was denied bond, because the suspect needed to be seen by a family court judge.
The suspect is currently being detained at the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia.
According to a Kingstree Police Department Incident Report, a student claimed to have received a text message from the suspect alleging to cause harm to fellow students. According to a supplemental report, the suspect later admitted to law enforcement that he wanted to hold the sixth to 12th graders hostage in a room at gunpoint for ransom until police arrived. A bond hearing was held Thursday, May 3, in Williamsburg County Magistrate’s Court. At the hearing the student’s attorney requested leniency, asking the court to set bond as his client is not a flight risk. The court could also use its authority to impose security measures such as relocating the child to another county and keeping track of him by way of electronic monitoring.
However, based upon the safety of the school and students, as well as the defendant, the judge denied bond. In a press release, Williamsburg Academy Headmaster Evan Powell issued the following statement:
“There has been an incident that has raised some concerns. The Kingstree Police Department has been contacted and there is an ongoing investigation. Parents, please feel confident that steps have been taken to insure your child’s safety on the WA campus. Any safety concerns brought to the administration’s attention will be addressed swiftly and taken seriously. Several students have met with Mrs. Valerie Webster, director of guidance, over the past few days. She is available to meet with any student who has concerns. Thank you, and please feel free to call my office.”
On Tuesday, May 8, the suspect is scheduled to appear before a circuit court judge where bond could be reconsidered as well as other considerations. At time of press, Kingstree Police Chief Robert Ford stated that there have been no other arrests, however, the investigation is ongoing.
In addition, on May 4, Kingstree Police officers and Williamsburg County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call that a student at the school had in his position a duffle bag containing a weapon and a list of names.
However, once law enforcement arrived it was verified that the student was not on the campus at the time. Law enforcement conducted a thorough search of the premises and later searched the student’s vehicle. No weapon or list was found.