Two teens who admitted to plotting a deadly attack against their Cherokee County classmates and teachers have been sentenced to 40 years, with 20 to serve.
Alfred Dupree, 19, and Victoria McCurley, 18, pleaded guilty on Friday to six counts of conspiracy to commit murder and other charges.
The pair, who attended Etowah High School, were arrested in October 2017, when both were 17, after a tipster alerted authorities. They have remained in custody since their arrest.
The Tuesday sentencing comes amid a tragic stream of school-shooting headlines nationwide. Two Colorado students remain in custody after one classmate was shot to death and eight others were injured on May 7. A college dropout was arrested after two University of North Carolina-Charlotte students were shot to death and four were injured on April 30.
The foiled Cherokee attack has left the community rattled. Sheriff’s Sgt. Marianne Kelley became emotional when discussing the matter with Channel 2 Action News reporter Richard Elliot prior to the teens’ sentencing.
“We take this very seriously. We don’t want anything … I can’t even do this right now,” Kelley said, her voice quaking, then trailing off. “We don’t want anything to happen to the students in our county, to our community. We’ll do everything we can to protect them. It’s a personal thing for everyone in the community.”
Dupree and McCurley had access to firearms, but Cherokee Sheriff Frank Reynolds said they more likely planned to use a flammable device, similar to what is known as a Molotov cocktail, against school staff.
Investigators found weapons and explosives in McCurley’s home and journals inside Dupree’s home with what prosecutors called a “kill list.”
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Cpl. Tim Downing read portions of the journal aloud during the sentencing hearing.
“I envision us moving into the 5,000 foot building from the East Wing, individually throwing down smoke bombs and picking people off as some of the smoke fills the halls, fills the air to begin throwing explosives off a crowd still in sight,” one passage read.
"We should think about setting up more bombs, though, I just want to kill as many people as I can,” another read.
Among those listed as specific targets were special education students and their teacher, Assistant District Attorney Rachelle Carnesale testified.
The two had created a map of the high school building as a part of their plan, according to their indictment.
Channel 2 Action News reporter Aaron Diamant has been in the courtroom and will have more during this evening’s broadcasts.
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