Thursday, March 10, 2005

Police disclose contents of writings allegedly threatening school takeover

A chilling and sometimes violent account of a school takeover raised eyebrows during a hearing in Clark County District Court Tuesday afternoon. What's still unclear is whether 18-year-old William Poole's journal entries were a fictional story or details of a plan to recruit a gang to unleash an armed assault on George Rogers Clark High School.

During the preliminary hearing, excerpts from a journal written by Poole, who is charged with second-degree terroristic threatening, seemed to provide few clear-cut answers.

The preliminary hearing marked the first time Winchester police have publicly disclosed Poole's writings that led police to charge him on Feb. 22 with threatening an armed takeover of the school, where Poole was enrolled as a junior.

Poole told police during a 30-minute interview following his arrest, and later reiterated during an interview with WLEX-TV, that what police had seized was a story about zombies taking over a high school, assigned by his English and computer teachers at GRCHS.

However, Detective Steve Caudill testified that neither teacher had any knowledge of what Poole had written and there was no mention of zombies in any of the writings.

Poole occasionally shook his head or laid his head on the defense table as Caudill read excerpts from a journal police allege was an attempt to recruit a gang to take over GRCHS.

Police were tipped off to the writings by Poole's grandmother, with whom he lived. Caudill explained that she read his journal and became concerned.

Seven documents were seized by police. According to police, Poole was attempting to create a gang called NLS, or No Limited Soldiers, sometimes also referred to as "True Soldiers," an organization that was to be comprised of Poole's acquaintances, according to Caudill.

Throughout his writings, Poole makes numerous references to a "brotherhood," such as in an overview, in which Poole wrote, "We will make the brotherhood known throughout the high school." It continues with a three-part plan: 1) Recruit new soldiers, 2) Get everyone in ranks, and 3) get the numbers to 100.

Caudill testified that at least seven acquaintances of Poole's reported that Poole had attempted to recruit them into a gang, but that none of them were interested.

In his writings, Poole makes references to four geographic zones. Zone Two refers to Clark County, according to Caudill. The other three zones mentioned in Poole's journal are Barbourville, South Carolina and New York City.

Caudill also read from a letter sent by an unnamed person who was referred to as a "colonel" in the Barbourville organization, promising to aid Poole with weapons and money. In one passage, Caudill testified the person in Barbourville admitted breaking into homes and said he had thousands of dollars and 50 guns at his disposal.

"You know what I mean, man. We will handle things if you want us to," the individual wrote Poole, who referred to himself in the journal as "Nappy Boy," the head of the Clark County organization, according to Caudill.

In the overview to his writings, Poole wrote, "We will shut down all the other groups that come against us." The only way to join the brotherhood, he wrote, "is doing something stupid.

"A separate story, titled "War" was described by Caudill as "futuristic," and referred to a group of people sitting down at a kitchen table, where they plan a takeover of a school, determining how long it will take for police to arrive on the scene. "They will all die together," Poole wrote.

Another excerpt, read by Caudill, states, "All the boys sit down at the kitchen table and start planning it out. They wrote down how many teachers, students and guards were at the high school. Also, how long it would take police to get there. They wrote down what was needed and how they was going to do it. They agreed right there they they would all die together.

"He continued, "They yelled, 'kill them,' and all the soldiers of Zone 2 started shooting. They are dropping every one of them. After five minutes, all the people are laying on the ground dead.

"Other documents, titled "Death of a Soldier" tells his family goodbye and list two separate dates for his death, Nov. 20, 2004, and Feb. 19, 2005. The latter date was three days before Poole was arrested.

One document mentioned that William P would go to the school and map out the floor plan, including locations of the cameras.Nowhere in Poole's writings did he refer to a specific school. It also did not list any specific targets, making only general references to teachers, students and school security.

According to Caudill, Poole told police that a teacher at GRCHS read the piece called the "Overview," and warned that Poole could be in trouble if others at school saw it. Consequently, Poole reportedly told police that he left his writings at home. The teacher told Caudill he did not see any of the journal entries that police confiscated.

Assistant County Attorney John Keeton told reporters after the hearing that, as a prosecutor, he has to take the writings seriously. "The downside of not taking it seriously is beyond comprehension," Keeton explained. He added that "it will all have to play out in court.

"District Judge Brandy Oliver Brown denied a motion by Poole's attorney, Brian Barker, to reduce his $5,000 bond. Brown instructed Poole that if he's able to post a $5,000 bond, he is to remain away from school property and may not have contact with anyone named in his writings.

No comments: