Parents React To Second Teen’s Guilty Plea In High School Murder Plot

By Tom Mustin

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – Parents of Mountain Vista High School students had a lot to say after the plea agreement reached by the second teenager involved in a murder plot against the school.

“It hit home. It was scary,“ parent Susan Gillis told CBS4’s Tom Mustin.

Sienna Johnson and Brooke Higgins had been accused of planning an elaborate attack against the Douglas County School in December of 2015.

Sienna Johnson (credit: Mountain Vista High School yearbook photo)

On Wednesday, Johnson plead guilty to felony menacing and conspiracy to commit murder.

She’s expected to be sentenced to five years in a youth corrections facility and four years of probation.

Sienna Johnson (credit Instagram)

It’s a sentence Gillis says is adequate, “Premeditated, they had a map of the school. They had it planned out. So I think the five years is adequate.”

Parent Brad Tejera agrees, “It scared the heck out of me. They are going to go to prison. They aren’t going to walk free. Am I happy the legal system worked? Yeah.”

(credit: CBS)

According to the arrest affidavit, Johnson had drawn elaborate maps of the school, showing exits and security guards. She also had practiced firing a BB gun. A text-a-tip to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office foiled the attack.

“This wasn’t just a couple of kids sitting around saying what if,” 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler told Mustin. “It was more than that and we’ve treated it like more than that.”

Brooke Higgins in court during her sentencing on Feb. 8 (credit: CBS)

Brauchler says a judge can re-evaluate the sentence when the 17-year-old Johnson turns 21, but he believes justice has been served.

“In very rare circumstances do I think justice is one fine point on a map. It’s a spectrum. And do I think this is within the spectrum of justice? Yeah I think it is.”

Sienna Johnson leaving court in January 2016 (credit: CBS)

Meanwhile, Susan Gillis says she’s hoping the teens who threatened her children will spend their years behind bars thinking about their actions and making changes

“That’s my hope. That they come out of this and make some big changes.”

Johnson will be formally sentenced August 11. A judge could change the sentence, but the DA’s office says that is highly unlikely.

Higgins was sentenced earlier this year to three years in the juvenile detention system followed by four years of supervision. She received credit for the time she has served so far.

Tom Mustin is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor. He has been with CBS4 since 2002, and is always looking for great story ideas. Connect with Tom on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @TomCBS4.

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