OGDEN — A juvenile court judge determined Friday that a 16-year-old boy accused of planning a bombing at Roy High School should be released from custody.
Joshua Kyler Hoggan is charged with use of a weapon of mass destruction, a first-degree felony, in 2nd District Juvenile Court. He had been in custody since he was arrested Jan. 25, but Judge Janice Frost decided Friday to let the boy out.
"After a hearing on Mr. Hoggan's detention status, the court finds that it is appropriate to release him to the custody of his parents," Utah state courts spokeswoman Nancy Volmer said.
Hearings in Hoggan's case, including Friday's detention hearing, have so far been closed to the public. The Deseret News, KSL-TV and radio, the Salt Lake Tribune, KUTV and KSTU are challenging the closure, arguing that the public has a right to know about the proceedings because of the serious nature of the allegations. Frost agreed to hear arguments about public access on March 22.
Hoggan and fellow classmate Dallin Morgan, 18, were arrested after a student at the school alerted officials of some disturbing text messages. Police believe the pair was planning to bomb the school during an assembly and escape on an airplane they intended to steal from nearby Ogden-Hinckley Airport.
Morgan is facing the same charge in 2nd District Court. He has been released on bond.
Police did not locate any explosives in their investigation, but the elements of the charges against both Morgan and Hoggan include possessing, displaying, attempting to use, soliciting the use of, or conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, or that they assisted, encouraged or solicited someone else to do the same.
Prosecutors are seeking to have Hoggan certified as an adult and have his case moved to 2nd District Court. They argue that his case should be handled in the same court as Morgan's and believe Hoggan is capable of handling proceedings there.
"The defendant's emotional attitude, pattern of living, environment and home life demonstrate that he has sufficient maturity to appreciate the seriousness of these charges and to be tried as an adult," prosecutors wrote.
Morgan appeared in court briefly Thursday. He was supposed to make a decision about whether he wanted a preliminary hearing on the evidence in his case, but his attorney, Pete Lowe, said there was more information coming in and asked for more time. The hearing was rescheduled for March 29.
A hearing on whether to certify Hoggan to stand trial as an adult has been slated for May.