The two, along with a couple of 14-year-olds, allegedly planned, in a Columbine High School-type attack, to shoot kids during an assembly and then bomb the school.
While both boys sat quietly with their parents, prosecutors calmly detailed a chilling plot they say was much more than lunchroom talk, reports CBS News Correspondent Cynthia Bowers.
"They put together a conspiracy that involved assault weapons, involved pipe bombs," said prosecutor Michael Wendling. "They were fingering for destruction targets that not only involved faculty at the school, but students as well. There were actual sexual assaults planned. There were attempts to purchase weapons and to do a robbery to obtain higher firepower."
With the school re-opened under tight security, community leaders argued against bail, even though no weapons were found, claiming these boys should not be allowed back on the streets of their terrorized town.
"In the 44 years that I have been in the business, I have never seen an education system so totally disrupted as what has happened here," said William Corbett, the Port Huron Police Chief.
Port Huron School Board President David Devendorff said, Â"You can't underestimate how much fear there is out there.Â"
Classes resumed Monday under tight security at Holland Woods Middle School. The 12,000-student Port Huron School District canceled classes at all 21 schools Friday following the arrest of the four boys and the discovery of a pipe bomb.
|Students returning to school.|
The school banned backpacks and a half-dozen police officers guarded the school Monday as students arrived by bus and car. The school is also hiring private security guards and two police officers will be there each morning. One will remain at school all day.
Police credit a 14-year-old girl with coming forward after she reportedly overheard the boys plotting to open fire on students at a gym assembly. Authorities say the boys had already chosen the date for their attack.
"We're thankful the system worked here, and that we haven't had a tragedy, that the kids did what we hoped they would do. They had enough confidence in their administrators and teachers to come forth and let us know what was happening, so that we could get involved quickly." said Port Huron Schools Superintendent Bill Kimball.
Fourteen-year-olds Justin J. Schnepp and Jedaiah D. Zinzo were arraigned Friday in St. Clair County District Court. Judge Stephen T. Thomas ordered each held on $100,000 cash bond until their preliminary examinations May 27.
Daniel J. Fick, 13, and Jonathan E. cDonald, 12, also were charged as adults but will have their cases heard in juvenile court because of their ages. St. Clair County Prosecutor Elwood Brown charged the four boys with the adult crime of conspiracy to commit premeditated murder. If convicted they could get life in prison.
"They had a definite time period in mind" for carrying out the massacre, he said. "I think they understood what a serious crime they were going to commit. I am not sure they understood how much trouble they were in," Brown said. He refused to discuss the evidence against the boys or say how far their plot had advanced.
Brown and Port Huron police Capt. Brian Moeller said they did not know whether there was any link between the plotters and a pipe bomb found on the school's front lawn Thursday night. All four boys were in custody at the time. Police say it was designed to damage people, not property.
"Whoever left the bomb did not try to set it off," Brown said. He said there had been several similar explosives cases in recent months around the county. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is investigating, he said.
"I feel uncomfortable going to that school," said Whitney Fontenot, a sixth-grader at the school.
Dozens of schools across the country have faced bomb threats and other copycat crimes following the April 20 massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., in which 15 people, including the two suspected gunmen, died.