WASECA, Minn. (AP) — A teenager who planned to attack his Minnesota school in 2014 said he made "a very bad decision" to stockpile bomb-making materials and wishes he hadn't done it.
In his first interview since his arrest two years ago, John LaDue told the Waseca County News that he is trying to get on with his life, taking welding classes and hoping to become a pipefitter. He was released from probation last month and has been living at his parents' home in Waseca since May.
"It was, of course, ridiculous and unpleasant," LaDue said in a story published Friday, and added: "If I had my options to do it over, I would not have it happen."
LaDue, now 19, pleaded guilty last fall to one count of possessing an explosive device and agreed to up to 10 years of probation to keep a felony off his record. But he recently decided to accept the felony conviction in exchange for being relieved of probation conditions that he said were burdensome, including daily check-ins, weekly mental health appointments, monthly appointments with a psychiatrist and other conditions.
LaDue was 17 when he was arrested in April 2014 after he was found with bomb-making materials and detailed plans to kill his family, then carry out an attack at his school.
Mental health experts had testified that LaDue was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and a fixation on violence. A separate evaluation before he was allowed to return to his parents' found he suffered from depression, not autism, and was a low risk.
LaDue told the Waseca County News that he had decided to stop seeking professional help.
"Every therapist I've met has been a very agreeable person," LaDue said. "I don't doubt their credentials at all, but I think they're wrong. I think I know what's in my best interests."
LaDue said he doesn't go out much, but has run into some former teachers in the community and said he was greeted cordially. But he said he's "not trying to win the hearts of everyone."
"I don't really know people here so I don't give a crap whether they like me or not," he said.
LaDue wrote in a letter accompanying the interview that his actions came from "a skewed desire for greatness."
"I thought that being great meant to be a ruler, a conqueror, someone who is above others in ability," he wrote. "My obsession on this compelled me to be violent, as I wanted to dominate others and be a conqueror in essence.
"However, my thinking has changed over time."
LaDue's father, David, told the newspaper his son had "matured a lot" and that the family was "doing great." He didn't respond to a text message from The Associated Press.
Waseca is about 70 miles southwest of Minneapolis.
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