- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 26, 2008

LAKEWOOD, Ohio (AP) — A man accused of e-mailing an Indiana teenager about conducting a Columbine-style attack on two schools was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, authorities said yesterday.

Lee Billi, 33, of the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood, was arrested Thursday and was being held in the city jail, a spokesman for the Cuyahoga County prosecutor said. A 16-year-old Indiana boy was arrested earlier in the week.

Lakewood Police Chief Tim Malley said he didn’t know how far along the two were in the purported plan, but said the two were talking about a Columbine-type plot.

A computer was removed from Mr. Billi’s home in Lakewood, in addition to computer disks, papers, books and three partial boxes of handgun ammunition, Chief Malley said.

Authorities said the two exchanged e-mails Sunday and discussed mass killings at the same time at the teenager’s school near South Bend, Ind., and at another location. Chief Malley said he didn’t know the other location, but it didn’t involve a Lakewood school.

Mr. Billi lives in a two-story brick apartment complex within view of the Lakewood High School football stadium located on school grounds. The superintendent sent word through a secretary that he was unaware of any plot involving Lakewood schools.

A judge in Indiana yesterday ordered the 16-year-old boy, whose name was not released because of his age, to remain in a juvenile-detention center and undergo a psychological evaluation.

St. Joseph Probate Court Judge Peter Nemeth said the teen must stay in detention “for his own protection and protection of society.”

“It doesn’t sound from past history that anyone was keeping an eye on him,” Judge Nemeth said.

Authorities said a school officer investigating an unrelated threat at the teen’s school, Penn High, discovered Internet postings in which the teen discussed his support for the two Columbine shooters, who killed 12 classmates and a teacher at their suburban Denver high school before committing suicide.

School officials questioned the teen about his postings and learned he had exchanged e-mails Sunday with an unidentified person in which they discussed conducting “Columbine- like mass murders” at the same time on Sept. 11 at Penn and another location, St. Joseph prosecutor Michael Dvorak said Thursday.

The boy lived in his deceased grandfather’s house on South Bend’s northwest side in a rundown neighborhood scattered with vacant houses.

The boy was handcuffed and shackled during a detention hearing yesterday. When he entered the courtroom he looked as though he had been crying and sat with his face buried in his hands as he waited for about 20 minutes while other cases were heard.

When his case was called, he stood before the judge waiting for his mother, who was outside, then leaned as she hugged him. His uncle placed his hand on the boy’s shoulder. His family declined to comment after the hearing.

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