Batavia student accused of planning 'Day of Wrath' gets probation

  • A 17-year-old was sentenced to probation and schizophrenia treatment Thursday after pleading guilty to possessing explosives in November 2019. Prosecutors said the teen wrote of a "Day of Wrath" at Batavia High School in which he planned to blow up a bomb in a bathroom, ignite Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs, and kill himself.

    A 17-year-old was sentenced to probation and schizophrenia treatment Thursday after pleading guilty to possessing explosives in November 2019. Prosecutors said the teen wrote of a "Day of Wrath" at Batavia High School in which he planned to blow up a bomb in a bathroom, ignite Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs, and kill himself. Daily Herald file photo

 
 
Updated 5/28/2020 6:57 PM

A teenager accused of planning of a "Day of Wrath" at Batavia High School in which he would detonate a bomb in a bathroom and ignite Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs was sentenced to four years of probation and at least six months of mental health treatment for schizophrenia.

The boy had been held at the Kane County Juvenile Justice Center since his arrest in late November 2019, when FBI agents searched his parents' Batavia house and found a working lab, explosive chemicals, pipes with holes drilled in them, ball bearings to be used as shrapnel, and fuses, according to prosecutors and court testimony.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Kane County prosecutors wanted the teen tried as an adult on terrorism charges that could have resulted in life in prison.

Assistant State's Attorney Bridget Sabbia said authorities found a notebook with "Day of Wrath" written in Latin on the cover. "The plan delineated in his notebook ended with him committing suicide," said Sabbia, who did not specify when the attack was to occur.

Thursday was to be the start of a two-day hearing to determine if he would be tried as an adult or if his case would remain in juvenile court. If convicted of a crime in juvenile court, he could be held only until his 21st birthday.

Instead, the teen waived the hearing, agreed to have his case moved to adult court and pleaded guilty to possession of an explosive or incendiary device, a felony that carries a sentence ranging from probation to up to 15 years in prison.

Defense attorney Gary Johnson said the teen's parents had noticed their son being more withdrawn before his arrest but didn't know of his illness. Johnson said the teen's lab was orderly and he would show his parents experiments.

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"(The schizophrenia) was undiagnosed and undetected before this incident. It was there, and nobody knew it," Johnson said. "It's been very hard on (the teen's parents). Their son has a mental illness that needs to be addressed. I personally don't feel like he was going to carry out any plans set forth in that notebook."

No attack occurred, and no bombs were found at the school.

The teen gets credit for 181 days served at the juvenile center and must complete a minimum of six months' treatment at a facility approved by the Kane County state's attorney's office and Kane County Diagnostic Center. His parents will pay for the treatment and must pay $6,900 in restitution to the Kane County sheriff's office, which deployed its bomb squad in the arrest.

Dr. Alexandra Tsang, the diagnostic center's executive director, diagnosed the teen and developed a treatment plan, according to Johnson and court testimony.

Also under the guilty plea accepted by Judge Salvatore LoPiccolo, the teen is banned from Batavia High School grounds, cannot have contact with BHS staff members, may use the internet only for school assignments, cannot possess explosive chemical precursors, must show he is "medication compliant" and is subject to random, unannounced visits from probation officials.

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