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Judge upholds bombmaking charges in alleged Freedom High plot

TAMPA — A 17-year-old boy who threatened to blow up his high school last year may not have been able to make a bomb from his crushed match heads, lead pencil refills and fertilizer, but his ineptitude as a bombmaker didn't matter, a judge has ruled.

In an order released Monday, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Kimberly Fernandez said a jury could reasonably conclude Jared Cano's actions "amounted to overt acts" toward making a bomb to blow up Tampa's Freedom High School.

She denied motions by Cano's defense attorney Norman Cannella to throw out the case. Cano, who is now 18, is charged with attempting to make a bomb and threatening to discharge it at the school.

Cannella argued in July that Cano never actually threatened anyone at the school, but had only expressed thoughts about harming people there to a fellow student.

That student reported him to Tampa police and acted as a confidential informant. Police said Cano boasted that he wanted to "become a legend" by killing more people than those who died at Columbine High School in Colorado and at Virginia Tech.

When police raided his home, they found what they called bombmaking materials, as well as a journal detailing his plans and Internet searches for bomb recipes.

Cannella called the whole project "half-baked," but Assistant State Attorney John Terry argued that it didn't matter how far along his plan was. The judge agreed with Terry.

No trial has been set for Cano, who has been jailed since his arrest last August. His next court hearing is Sept. 5.

John Barry can be reached at (813) 226-3383 or jbarry@tampabay.com.

Judge upholds bombmaking charges in alleged Freedom High plot 08/20/12 [Last modified: Monday, August 20, 2012 11:43pm]
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