ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) — A Utah teenager told police that he tried to blow up a homemade device in his backpack at school because he’d been looking at Islamic State propaganda and wanted to cause fear, according to a video of the conversation shown in court Monday.
The 16-year-old’s interview with police was shown during a court hearing in the southern Utah city of St. George as prosecutors made their case for trying the boy as an adult. The boy was arrested after Pine View High School was evacuated for two hours on March 5 when a smoking but inert bomb was found at the school. No one was hurt.
In the four-hour videotaped interview with police, the boy told officers that he didn’t care whether people could have been hurt by the device in the backpack.
“I don’t see death as anything bad. I see it as a new way of life,” he said. “I expected the thing to go off.”
During the interview, the boy also admitted to a February vandalism incident at another high school in the nearby city of Hurricane where an American flag was damaged and replaced with a black spray-painted flag resembling the Islamic State flag and words including “ISIS” were spray-painted on a wall.
Prosecutors want to try him as an adult on attempted murder and other charges. Attorney Steven Harris said he plans to call a psychologist who will testify in the boy’s defense, the Spectrum of St. George reported .
The Associated Press is not naming the defendant because he’s a minor.
In court, St. George Police Officer Gage Schimbeck testified that some type of incendiary device was inside the backpack.
Deputy County Attorney Angela Adams said inside one of the teen’s other backpacks was a notebook with drawings that appeared to be plans for the device.
FBI special agent Chris Andersen testified that the teenager’s laptop was taken to a forensic examiner, who found it had been used to view ISIS propaganda and information on locating materials for a bomb. It was also used to search terms like “bomb,” ‘’fuse,” ‘’How do westerners become recruited to ISIS,” ‘’ISIS phone number,” and “ways to contact ISIS,” according to Andersen.
The boy’s hearing continues Wednesday. A judge will then determine whether to try the teenager as an adult.