- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 25, 2018

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) - A judge on Wednesday lowered the bail for a Vermont teen accused of planning to shoot up his former high school after prosecutors dropped the most serious charges.

Judge Thomas Zonay lowered the bail to $10,000 from $100,000.

A lawyer for 18-year-old Jack Sawyer, of Poultney, said he would not be released from jail on Wednesday.

Sawyer was arrested the day after the Feb. 14 Parkland, Florida, shootings that killed 17 people after a friend reported him to authorities. His case provoked Republican Gov. Phil Scott to change his stance on some gun restrictions. It also led to the first significant limitations on gun ownership in Vermont history, including raising the age for buying firearms and banning high-capacity magazines.

Prosecutors say Sawyer made detailed plans for a shooting at Fair Haven Union High School outlined in his diary called “Journal of an Active Shooter,” and said his goal was to kill more people than in any other school shooting. Sawyer’s defense team has argued that he didn’t take any concrete steps toward committing a crime.

The Vermont Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that “preparation alone” did not prove an attempt at aggravated murder or murder so Sawyer could not be kept in jail without bail.

Rutland County prosecutor Rose Kennedy on Monday dismissed the four most serious charges against Sawyer because the Supreme Court’s ruling made the prosecution against him “untenable.”

The dismissal was one of the main reasons Zonay said he lowered the bail.

The governor and Kennedy have asked lawmakers to make changes to the definition of attempted crimes.

Sawyer’s lawyer and father said last week that they want to get him placed at the Brattleboro Retreat psychiatric hospital if a bed is available.

Some conditions of his release are that he be under the supervision of his father and have a 24-hour curfew at his home. Sawyer also may not have any contact with any students, staff members or teachers at the school if released.

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