State's attorney drops attempted murder charges against Sawyer

Published: Apr. 23, 2018 at 10:17 AM EDT
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Concerns in Fair Haven where residents learned Monday that most of the charges against a teen accused of plotting a school shooting in town have been dismissed.

In this case, an alleged plot to carry out a massacre, which still has the Fair Haven community on edge.

"I was very shocked. I have a ton of friends who go to that high school and I have two younger sisters that go to the grade school. I was furious," said Taylor Goodrich, a 2015 graduate of Fair Haven Union High School.

According to police, 18-year-old Jack Sawyer documented, in detail, his plan to kill students and staff at Fair Haven Union High School. Luckily, the alleged plan was thwarted by a friend who called police. Sawyer was charged with a host of crimes, including attempted murder and attempted aggravated murder. But the Vermont Supreme Court recently ruled that a plan does not rise to the level of an attempt. Because of that, the four most serious charges against Sawyer were dismissed. He still faces a criminal threatening charge and illegally carrying a dangerous weapon, but they are only misdemeanors.

"I'm not going to comment on the specifics of the case. I will wait to hear from the court what the next step will be," Rutland County State's Attorney Rose Kennedy said.

But what Kennedy is saying is the need for a closer look at Vermont's attempt statute, and she's calling on the Legislature to do so.

"Try to give prosecutors in this state an attempt statute that will help when we have this much information in the preparatory stages," Kennedy said.

It's a planned school shooting that does not sit well with members of the Fair Haven community. The district released a statement which says in part, "We stand steadfast in our commitment to the safety and security of our students. As such, we continue to encourage our students, our staff and our community that if they see something they must say something."

Reporter Adam Sullivan: How does this story end?

Taylor Goodrich: I don't know. Either he is going to finish his plan like he said he was going to do and this is going to be a horrible thing or something needs to be done.

"Let's not just turn him loose to go out there and ponder some more. He needs help," Bonnie Shaw said.

Shaw can see the high school from her backyard. She says she often watches kids play of the sports fields and fears that a former student may not be getting the support he needs.

"It was disturbing and having heard what has gone on all over the country made it even more so," Shaw said. "But I also kept thinking, what is this child's history?"

Others are obviously very upset by this entire incident and they do not want to see Sawyer released from jail. The state's attorney is asking the judge to keep the $100,000 bail currently pending, but she also acknowledges that could change due to the new developments in the case.