Former Dallastown HS student pleads guilty in threat case
A former Dallastown Area High School student has avoided additional prison time for making threats at the school in March.
Brandon Jamal Thompson, 19, of Chambers Ridge Drive in York Township, appeared in York County Court on Monday, Oct. 1, and pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree misdemeanor disorderly conduct, according to court records.
As part of a negotiated plea agreement, he was sentenced to 73 days to 12 months in York County Prison and was given 73 days' credit for time he's already served, court records state.
He also must perform 100 hours of community service, spend an additional year on probation and pay court costs, according to records. A charge of making terroristic threats was dismissed as part of the agreement, records state.
Thompson's defense attorney, Chris Ferro, said his client never intended to harm anyone and that his comments were poorly timed and immature.
"I think Brandon is a great young kid who unfortunately made a series of dumb, thoughtless comments at the worst possible time in American history," Ferro told The York Dispatch. "Because of that moment in time — and for really no other reason — this matter was treated more harshly than I believe it should have been."
Teenage 'mistake': The outcome of the case was fair and allows Thompson "to grow and learn from his mistakes, like all teenagers," Ferro said.
Thompson graduated from Dallastown Area High School in June, but he was not allowed to attend his class' graduation ceremony, according to his attorney.
"I never believed that this young man committed the crime of terroristic threats, and I think we would've been successful at trial on that charge," Ferro said. "But I'm not willing to wait months while he sits in a jail to get that resolution."
Bail originally was set at $225,000 when York Area Regional Police filed charges on March 1, but after the young man spent about two weeks in prison, Ferro convinced a judge to release Thompson on his own recognizance.
Bail was revoked in March and Thompson was jailed again after it was determined he violated his supervised bail conditions by missing curfew more than two dozen times and tested positive for alcohol.
The background: Thompson was arrested March 1 after he allegedly threatened to shoot teachers at the high school.
According to court documents, Thompson was overheard about 9:15 a.m. March 1 yelling at a student, "Don't come to school tomorrow," and a witness alerted school staff.
School administrators immediately detained Thompson and alerted York Area Regional Police, according to a statement from the school district.
Police spoke with students Thompson rode to school with that morning and were told that in the vehicle Thompson said that one day, someone was going to "push his buttons to the max," court documents state.
He then said, "I'm going to come to school tomorrow with a gun, and teachers are the first victims," documents state.
Once at the school and walking through the lot to the building, Thompson pointed out another student and said, "That's going to be my first victim," according to court documents.
Joking? After walking inside the building, Thompson raised his hands and made a shooting gesture at a group of students about 7:30 a.m., police have said.
Police interviewed Thompson that day. He told them he had heard about threats being made in other school districts and "thought it would be a joke to say it," according to court documents.
Asked about the student he had pointed out and allegedly identified as his first victim, Thompson told officers that if he really wanted to shoot the boy, he would have done it already, documents state.
One of Thompson's parents told officers that Thompson had seemed depressed for several weeks, according to police.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.