Teen charged in plot re­quests new­judge

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Jesse Paul Jesse Paul: 303- 954- 1733, jpaul@ den­ver­post. com or @ JesseAPaul

cas­tle rock » Lawyers for one of the two 16- yearold girls charged in an al­leged plot to kill class­mates and staff mem­bers at their High­lands Ranch high school sig­naled in court fil­ings they want a new judge.

Brooke Hig­gins’ at­tor­neys onMon­day sub­mit­ted a no­tice claim­ing they have “good faith ba­sis” to raise con­cerns about District Judge Paul A. King and say they plan to ask for his re­moval.

“All pro­ceed­ings must be sus­pended when such mo­tion is filed and un­til is it re­solved,” Hig­gins’ de­fense team wrote.

The fil­ings did not in­di­cate why they be­lieve King is bi­ased or prej­u­diced and should not pre­side over the case.

Hig­gins ap­peared in court Fri­day.

King sched­uled a three­day hear­ing for May 23 to de­ter­mine if her case will re­main in adult court.

Hig­gins did not speak dur­ing the pro­ceed­ings, sit­ting shack­led in jail clothes in front of her par­ents. At­tor­neys did not dis­cuss Hig­gins’ $ 1 mil­lion bail, as was planned.

Two counts of con­spir­acy to com­mit first- de­greemur­der were lev­eled against Hig­gins this month.

Her co- de­fen­dant, Si­enna John­son, faces the same al­le­ga­tions.

Lawyers for both girls are seek­ing to have their cases re­turned to ju­ve­nile court, say­ing the al­le­ga­tions against the teens rep­re­sent a mis­un­der­stand­ing.

King is the judge for both and is slated to de­cide in which court they should be tried.

Pros­e­cu­tors say the two girls plot­ted to com­mit a mass shoot­ing at Moun­tain Vista High School in the days be­fore Christ­mas break.

Hig­gins al­legedly searched the In­ter­net for ways to pur­chase firearms as a mi­nor, us­ing a site de­scribed as “a Craigslist for weapons.”

Among her searches, pros­e­cu­tors say, Hig­gins tried to find out if a child could pur­chase weapons at gun shows and sought in­for­ma­tion on fe­male mass shoot­ers.

Hig­gins wrote in her jour­nal that she wished she could have par­tic­i­pated in the 1999 Columbine High School at­tack, which left 12 stu­dents and a teacher dead, au­thor­i­ties say.

A friend told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that Hig­gins gave her in­struc­tions to fol­low any warn­ing not to come to school.

Au­thor­i­ties say the girls’ scheme was foiled days be­fore it was sup­posed to be car­ried out­when the Dou­glas County Sher­iff’s Of­fice was alerted to the case via text mes­sage.

The Den­ver Post found that sher­iff’s in­ves­ti­ga­tors had been alerted to vi­o­lent In­ter­net posts by John­son months be­fore au­thor­i­ties learned of the al­leged mur­der plot.

Sher­iff Tony Spur­lock said she was fully vet­ted and that the probe was dropped af­ter no crim­i­nal wrong­do­ing was found.

John­son and Hig­gins were ar­rested Dec. 12. Court records in the case re­main sealed.

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