A Waseca teen on Monday pleaded not guilty to felony charges that he planned to kill his family and place explosives in the Waseca junior-senior high school building.
A Waseca County judge delayed a decision on whether John LaDue, 17, will face the counts as an adult or a juvenile. District Court Judge Gerald Wolf granted 60 days for a medical evaluation to determine LaDue's competency to face adult charges.
LaDue's defense attorneys say the case should be dropped because police do not have enough evidence to prove LaDue would act on the plans he had written about or use the guns and explosives he had collected.
"Based on what material we have been able to review, we do not believe that the state will be able to establish probable cause, particularly for the attempted murder charges," LaDue attorney and assistant public defender Dawn Johnson said.
According to the criminal complaint, LaDue told police he stored bombs, guns and ammunition in his bedroom and a storage locker. At his home, police recovered seven firearms, ammunition and what they described as three functional bombs.
The complaint adds that LaDue outlined his plans in a notebook and admitted setting off devices earlier this year in a school playground and at a local church.
On Monday morning, LaDue walked into the Waseca County Courthouse shackled, wearing an orange jumpsuit and escorted by two sheriff's deputies. His father, David LaDue, a few friends, and the Waseca schools superintendent were in the courtroom.
LaDue entered a denial plea, which is the juvenile equivalent of a not guilty plea.
Prosecutors declined to comment after the hearing.
LaDue will remain at the juvenile correctional facility in Red Wing, Minnesota, Johnson said. "I believe he's doing well. He's able to communicate with us very well. He's a very intelligent young man and under the circumstances, he's able to hold up very well," she added.
LaDue's probable cause hearing is scheduled for June 18.
At that hearing, the prosecution and police must show the court there's evidence to prove that the crimes happened and connect LaDue to the charges. LaDue's attorneys will present the judge with evidence and ask the judge to essentially throw out the charges.
The hearing to determine whether he'll be tried as an adult is expected to be later this summer.