Charges Reduced for School Shooting Plot

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Southeast Kansas authorities have dropped felony charges against five teens accused of plotting a shooting rampage at their high school.

The Cherokee County attorney is instead charging the five with one misdemeanor each.

The Riverton High School students were arrested in April and charged with one felony count each of incitement to riot and making a criminal threat.

Attorney General Phill Kline also charged one of them, 17-year-old James Tillman, with felony solicitation to commit first-degree murder.

Kline's office withdrew that charge last week and turned the case over to Cherokee County Attorney Michael Goodrich.

The amended charge is conspiracy to riot, alleging the five discussed how to commit a violent act at the school.

The students were arrested April 20, the 17th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado. The arrests followed a message about an alleged plot for shootings at Riverton High School appeared on the Web site

Besides Tillman, the defendants are 16-year-old Caleb Byrd, 17-year-old Robert Hunt, 15-year-old Andrew Jaeger, and 18-year-old Charles “Coy'' New.