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Lawyer: Student recruited in Hilliard plot thought it was a joke

(WSYX/WTTE)

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said Thursday that two "John Does" implicated in a school shooting massacre plot are not off the hook yet.

"We don't make deals until we have all the information and currently we don't believe we do have all the information," said O'Brien.

The Joint Terrorism Task Force is still conducting an investigation after 16 year old John Leonard Staley was charged with conspiracy to commit murder at Hilliard Davidson High School this week.

Two girls told police they overheard Staley talking with other students about the attack, and saw them looking at a diagram of the school and cafeteria.

The defense lawyer for the student referred to in court documents as "John Doe" said at first his client thought the plan was "a joke." But O'Brien said the young men should have told authorities about what they knew.

"When people hear someone talking about doing a violent act,whether they think it is a joke or serious they need to pass it on,and it can even be done anonymously," said O'Brien. The prosecutor confirmed Staley was trying to recruit up to 15 people, had diagramed entrances and exits, where school staff was stationed, planned to lock the cafeteria doors, and had planned to have getaway drivers ready after the attack.

Brad Koffel, representing on of the John Does said his client has never been in trouble before. "He is not a star athlete, not trying to be Mr. Popularity, he is like so many other young men and women in high school just trying to get through. I think he may have been perceived by this small faction,being easy pickings, kind of bullied into participating,maybe even threatened a little bit to participate or else," said Koffel.

The John Doe was suspended from school, and Koffel said he has no plans to go back to Davidson. "He wants to finish off his high school years and get on with college," said Koffel.

As for the John Doe's parents, Koffel said they were "blown away, extremely concerned, very scared for their son, and scared for the community. They did not bury their head in the sand and chalk it up to just idle chit chat on a school bus."

Staley is scheduled to have a bind over hearing on Monday to see if he will be tried as an adult.

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