Teen suspected of bringing pipe bomb to St. George high school to be tried as adult

Photo: Pine View H.S. website

ST. GEORGE, Utah, July 26, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A teenager accused of bringing a pipe bomb to a St. George high school earlier this year and trying to detonate it will be tried as an adult, officials said Thursday.

Martin Farnsworth, 16, of Hurricane, will now face first-degree felony charges of attempted murder and use of a weapon of mass destruction. Fifth District Juvenile Judge Paul Dame made the decision Thursday.

Class A misdemeanor graffiti charges and class B misdemeanor abuse of a flag charges — both based on a Feb. 15 incident at Hurricane High School — will be handled in juvenile court.

Bail for the teen suspect’s felony charges was set at $100,000 each, cash only.

According to court documents, the March 5 incident began when the suspect entered Pine View High School with two backpacks, one containing an Improvised Explosive Device (I.E.D.)

“Video surveillance from the school indicates that he entered the school with the two backpacks at 11:08 am,” says a document released by the Utah Court system.

“He then walked into the Media Center (library) and sat at a work station for approximately 21 minutes. Video surveillance further shows that he left the Media Center at 11:31 am and walked north in the main hallway until reaching the cafeteria.

“He then waited in the food line and after getting his lunch, sat in the middle of the cafeteria alone. He still had both backpacks with him during all of this time. At 11:39 am, he got up from the lunch table, walked into the main hallway near the restrooms, and walked in a circle, and then walked directly to the area of the vending machine and can be observed on video surveillance placing the backpack on the ground leaning against the front right (east) corner of the vending machine.”

The backpack was left against one of three vending machines, the one closest to the hallways of the cafeteria.

“There were approximately 75-150 students in the commons/cafeteria area at this time,” the statement says. “At 11:42 am, (the suspect) opened the backpack, lit the fuse, and walked away from it.”

Soon after, several students who noticed “dark gray smoke and a strong odor coming from the backpack for 30-60 seconds,” reported the backpack to the school resource officer, who approached the backpack, examined its contents, then “removed it from the school and contacted the Washington County Bomb Squad and the school was completely evacuated,” the court documents say.

The Washington County Bomb Squad examined the I.E.D and determined the device was made from a metal soup can filled with 10 items, including:

  • BB shots removed from shotgun shells
  • Black gun powder
  • Three 16.9 oz. water bottles of gasoline
  • A burnt match and an unburnt match
  • Clothing

Asked in the same March 5 interview about the Feb. 15 incident, in which Hurricane High School was vandalized and an improvised ISIS flag was used to replace the school’s United States flag, the suspect admitted making the ISIS flag from materials found in his grandparents’ shop.

During the execution of the search warrant at the suspect’s home, supplies like those used to make the flag and fill the backpack were located, the court papers say.


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