BROCKTON, Mass. (AP) – A former student convicted of plotting to carry out a Columbine-style attack at Marshfield High School was sentenced Tuesday to nine months in prison.

Joseph Nee, the 21-year-old son of Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association President Thomas Nee, was convicted last week of conspiracy to commit murder, but acquitted of two other charges. Because he was jailed for three months after his arrest, he will serve another six months, followed by two years of probation.

Nee faced up to 20 years in prison.

“Obviously, being his parents, we’re heartbroken,” Thomas Nee, said after the sentencing.

Nee’s attorney said the plan by four students who called themselves NBK – “Natural Born Killers” – was never a real threat, but prosecutors rejected that argument.

Authorities uncovered a hit list of students, school officials and police officers. They also found hand-drawn maps of Marshfield High School, computer files on bomb-building and a shopping list of weapons and ammunition.

Nee was 18 when he, Daniel Farley and Joseph Sullivan went to police in September 2004 and reported that another student, Tobin Kerns, was planning to kill students and teachers at the high school.

Kerns was arrested immediately, and Nee was charged a month later as a co-conspirator.

Kerns was convicted in 2006 of conspiracy to commit murder and threatening to use deadly weapons. He is serving a 10-month sentence.

Prosecutors said Kerns and Nee were equal partners in planning the attack, which they said was meant to get back at people who had picked on them.

Nee’s attorney, Thomas Drechsler, asked Judge Charles Grabau to spare Nee any additional jail time and sentence him to probation.

“My client did go to police, and Kerns didn’t. I felt that he should have gotten a more lenient sentence,” Drechsler said.

Drechsler said he planned to appeal the conviction based on Nee’s renunciation of the plan before it was carried out.

Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz said both men participated in the plot.

“The fact that an individual at some point decided to come forward is a good thing, but when you look at the entire factors in this case and you review all the evidence, I think you would agree with us, as the judge agreed with us, that (Nee) was a conspirator to commit mass murder,” Cruz said.

AP-ES-02-19-08 1439EST


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