Alabama teen bomb suspect out on bail

Jan. 7, 2013 at 10:08 PM
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SEALE, Ala., Jan. 7 (UPI) -- An Alabama teenager accused of plotting to use homemade bombs against his schoolmates was freed Monday on $75,000 bond.

Derek Shrout, 17, was released to home custody and must wear a GPS ankle bracelet, the Columbus, Ga., Ledger-Enquirer reported. He also is to be monitored by a parent while on the Internet and can't have any contact with anyone from Russell County High School in Seale, Ala., where he is a student.

Judge Albert Johnson set a preliminary hearing for Feb. 12.

Shrout was silent during his bond hearing, his hands and ankles chained. His attorney entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf.

Defense attorney Jeremy Armstrong called the case against his client an overreaction following last month's mass school shooting in Connecticut.

"Our position is that our client had no intention to harm anybody," Armstrong said.

The case against Shrout began when a teacher found a journal in which Shrout described the bombs he was making. Shrout said his writings were fictitious, Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said Sunday.

Investigators found a couple dozen small tobacco cans and two large cans, all with holes drilled in them and containing pellets, during a search of Shrout's home Friday when the youth was arrested, the sheriff said. No black powder, butane or fuses were found, but the sheriff said the devices were just "a step or two away from being ready to explode."

"It would have been serious," Taylor said.

The case has a racial component, the sheriff said.

"He has a lot of pent-up anger toward blacks," Taylor said.

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