Bomb Threat Hoax Emailed Around Country

Teen accused of making online threats heads to trial, child porn charges on hold

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- West Catholic High School student Matthew Herrington will go to trial to face charges after police say he made false threats of terrorism against some of his classmates.

Herrington, 17, is charged with two counts of making a false threat of terrorism after police said he posted threatening pictures and text on the social media site Instagram aimed at other West Catholic students. The teen also faces  potential child pornography charges.

The threats, posted in February, were of photos with messages to other students telling some not to come to school the next day.

If convicted, the teen could face up to 20 years in prison.

A Michigan State Police computer expert took the stand Thursday in Grand Rapids District Court, telling the judge he found evidence on Herrington's computer showing online searches for the term 'Columbine.'

“There was a Google search done for the word Columbine, in addition there was a number of images of the Columbine shooting on the computer, images of the active shooter," said Gerald McCarthy, with MSP's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Det. Richard Lewis with the Grand Rapids Police Dept. said during his testimony that Herrington had admitted to police to making the threats, but his intentions were never to carry out the threats.

“He indicated that he never intended to follow through with any threats, but he was hoping to spark some fear," Lewis said.

"He felt powerful by doing it and was looking forward to going back to school and sitting back to gauge the responses of the students.”

While the judge agreed there was enough evidence to send Herrington to trial on charges of making false threats of terrorism, a decision what not reached on child porn cases.

Investigators said three images of child sexual abusive material were found on the teen's computer.

At issue is whether Herrington simply possessed the images by downloading them or whether one of the images was created because it was a screenshot of another image, according to McCarthy.

The judge said she will review the case further and make a final decision in a week.

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