Bomb threat suspect’s attorneys again ask for reduction in bond
Defense attorneys for a man accused in a plot to blow up Palisade High School will argue in court Thursday that the bond set in their client’s case is abnormally high.
Attorneys Andrew Nolan and Michele Devlin wrote in a motion filed Monday that a bond of $100,000 is too steep for the Class 5 felony charge of solicitation to possess an explosive or incendiary device that prosecutors have filed against 18-year-old Robert Johnson.
The suggested bond schedule for a Class 5 felony charge is $3,000.
Mesa County District Judge Valerie Robison previously denied a bond reduction requested by Johnson’s former attorney, Public Defender Stacie Colling.
Johnson was arrested Sept. 28 after an interview at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department in which he admitted to thinking about blowing up Palisade and shooting people in the school and “talked about going out in a blaze of glory like Columbine High School,” according to an arrest affidavit.
School Resource Officer Matt McChesney learned about the threats after being contacted by a student, Calvin O’Banion, at the school. O’Banion said Johnson twice asked him whether he could get some explosives, especially dynamite or C-4, which is a plastic explosive. Johnson, who attended Valley East School and went to Palisade to catch a bus to the Career Center, asked other students if he could obtain explosives from them, the affidavit said.
A search of Johnson’s home and the others students’ home revealed no explosives, guns or evidence of a plot against the school, the affidavit said.
“The bond amount for Mr. Johnson, as currently set, is excessive and oppressive and not set to ensure his appearance in court but to guarantee that he remains in custody,” the motion said. “The court has an array of additional conditions that can be given to Mr. Johnson to ensure the safety of the community and his appearance in court, such as GPS monitoring, and Pretrial Services.”
Nolan and Devlin also argue in the motion that Johnson is not a flight risk because he has been a Mesa County resident for five years and has no adult criminal history record, although he has a case pending in juvenile court.