PLYMOUTH, Mass. (AP) – A high school student whose tip about a planned Columbine-style massacre landed his friend in jail was arrested Monday and charged with being a conspirator in the plot.

Joseph T. Nee, 18, a senior at Marshfield High School whose father heads the main Boston police union, pleaded innocent to conspiracy to commit mass murder and promotion of anarchy. He was ordered held without bail pending a hearing Thursday.

Nee’s tip to police had led to the Sept. 17 arrest of his friend, 16-year-old Tobin Kerns.

Acting on information from Nee and two other unnamed witnesses, police said they uncovered evidence of a plan to carry out an attack that would coincide with the sixth anniversary of the Columbine shootings and that students, teachers, police officers and firefighters were identified as targets.

Further investigation revealed that Nee was part of the plot and that he understated his role when he contacted police, prosecutor John McLaughlin said.

“There is physical evidence here of more than just a high school kid looking to get back at the people who tormented him,” McLaughlin said.

Nee’s attorney, Eric Goldman, said there is no evidence linking him to the plot.

“Mr. Nee is certainly guilty of being a distraught teenager … but he was the informant,” Goldman said.

Outside court, a tearful Thomas Nee said he was “embarrassed by the allegations,” but proud of his son for coming forward.

“I don’t care what kids talk about, as long as they don’t act it out,” said Nee, president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association. “I’m just thankful for one thing, that there’s been no tragedy, there’s been nobody hurt.”

According to court documents, Nee had told a friend he knew how to make a Napalm-like explosive. A search of the woods near Kerns’ home found evidence that an explosive had been detonated there, police said.

Investigators said they also recovered diagrams of the school, including plans for which exits should be padlocked to prevent escape.

Kerns has pleaded innocent to promotion of anarchy and attempted murder, and is being held without bail. His father has said he was framed by Nee following a dispute over a girl. The two boys were part of a group of four students who called themselves NBK, for “Natural Born Killers,” after the movie about a couple who go on a killing spree.

During the Columbine attack on April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed a teacher and 12 of their classmates, then killed themselves.

AP-ES-10-18-04 1647EDT



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