Judge rejects lower bond in Palisade case

A judge denied a request Tuesday to lower a $100,000 bond for a Palisade teenager accused of plotting to attack Palisade High School.

Mesa County Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Savage told District Judge Valerie Robison that Robert D. Johnson asked two individuals at two separate times about how to obtain explosives so he could “go Columbine on Palisade High School.”

Johnson has been in custody at Mesa County Jail since Sept. 28 on a felony charge of criminal solicitation and a misdemeanor charge of interfering with an educational institution.

Johnson’s attorney, Public Defender Stacie Colling, requested a lower bond for her client because the bond schedule for the low-class felony is $3,000.

Johnson has no adult criminal history, and an arrest affidavit in the case has remained sealed since her client was arrested, meaning neither she nor other members of the public can access the allegations in the case.

“I suspect there are facts to justify a lower bond,” Colling told Robison. “I am somewhat baffled that bond was set at $100,000 at arraignment.”

Savage said prosecutors could file a motion to either unseal or keep sealed the arrest affidavit by late Thursday afternoon. He said the document was sealed because authorities still are investigating the case.

Robison ordered prosecutors to make that decision by late Thursday.

Savage argued the high bond was appropriate because the affidavit alleges Johnson asked one person questions about how to attain a bomb and asked another person how to obtain dynamite or C-4, a type of explosive.

“He himself admitted he talked about going out in a blaze of glory like Columbine High School,” Savage said, referring to an interview in the affidavit.

Students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher and injured 21 others in an attack on Columbine High School in Littleton in 1999.


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