Judge drops conspiracy charges in Mississippi school shooting cases

BRANDON, Miss. (AP) — A judge Wednesday dismissed conspiracy charges against five teenagers accused of plotting a deadly shooting rampage at a high school last fall.
Circuit Judge Robert Goza dismissed the charges at the request of District Attorney John Kitchens, who said Mississippi’s conspiracy law would make proving the allegations difficult.
Two students were slain at Pearl High School last Oct. 1 in the first of several deadly school shootings around the country.
Luke Woodham, 17, was convicted last month for killing his former girlfriend, Christina Menefee, and student Lydia Dew and wounding seven other students.
Woodham was sentenced to two life terms for the slayings and 20 years for each of seven aggravated assault charges. He also is serving a third life sentence for stabbing his mother to death the same day as the school attack.
Goza’s ruling means that Delbert Allen Shaw, 19, Wesley Brownell, 18, and Donald Brooks, 18, are free of all charges.
Conspiracy charges also were dismissed against Grant Boyette, 19, and Justin Sledge, 17, but they still face trials on accessory to murder charges. Goza said he will allow separate trials for the two.
A sixth suspect, 16-year-old Lucas Thompson, had his case transferred to Youth Court, where records are secret and the status of his case is unknown.