Utah: Teen researches how to join ISIS, leaves homemade bomb in his high school cafeteria

Friday, April 26, 2019
By Paul Martin

APR 26, 2019

It’s impossible to tell from this article whether Martin Farnsworth actually converted to Islam and frequented a mosque in Utah; authorities should investigate this possibility, and also try to determine whether his allegiance to ISIS came from that mosque, but they almost certainly will not do so. In any case, his behavior is being ascribed to his autism and to the claim that he was bullied. But plenty of people are autistic and plenty of people are bullied, and they don’t try to join ISIS. What’s the difference here?

“High school bomb case: Teen gets probation for homemade incendiary device,” by Emily Havens, St. George Spectrum & Daily News, April 24, 2019 (thanks to Rick):

“A Southern Utah teenager who brought a homemade incendiary device to his high school with the intent to “cause some fear” was sentenced in adult court Wednesday afternoon.

Martin Ryan Farnsworth, 17, was sentenced to 48 months of probation — with additional restrictions — on one count of possession of an incendiary device with intent to injure persons or property.

Farnsworth took a plea deal in March, which led the state to drop the two first-degree felonies he was charged with in adult court: attempted murder and possession or use of a weapon of mass destruction.

After an investigation was completed by multiple agencies, Farnsworth was found to be responsible for bringing a homemade incendiary device inside his backpack and attempting to light the fuse inside the crowded Pine View High School cafeteria on March 5, 2018.

Authorities believe the device was a failed attempt to detonate an explosive at the school, according to court records and testimony.

“I don’t see death as anything bad, I see it as a new way of life,” Farnsworth said during a recorded interview with police. “I expected the thing to go off.”…

Farnsworth has been diagnosed on the high-functioning autistic scale, and he also experienced severe depression due to bullying, defense attorney Edward Flint said.

“A lot of this started with bullying in school that wasn’t addressed,” Flint said. “That’s when he turned to criminal acts… Because he snapped and reacted this way, that’s why he’s here today.”

Westfall disagreed with Flint’s statement.

“This took some planning,” Westfall said. “It took some thought, and that’s troubling to me. You didn’t just ‘snap’”…

Multiple agencies responded to PVHS on March 5, 2018, on reports of a backpack near the cafeteria that appeared to be smoking. The report came in around 12:20 p.m., as students were gathering and dispersing for the lunch hour.

Students noticed the abandoned, smoking backpack on the ground and notified the school resource officer, who then notified the principal. Members of the Washington County Bomb Squad investigated the backpack and device inside and determined, had it detonated, it would have the potential to cause significant injury or death.

According to a recorded police interview with Farnsworth, he told detectives he “would have been fine with it” if his bomb had detonated and killed or injured his classmates….

“I’ve been looking at ISIS stuff, so I wanted to see what would happen and what people would think,” the juvenile told the officers.

An FBI agent who testified in Farnsworth’s preliminary hearing in juvenile court said the computer user had viewed videos of pro-ISIS propaganda and ISIS recruitment videos. He also said the user was searching various search terms like “bomb,” “fuse,” “Hurricane,” “ISIS,” “How do westerners become recruited to ISIS,” “ISIS phone number,” and “ways to contact ISIS.”

Farnsworth was also charged in juvenile court with graffiti and abuse of a flag at the time of his arrest in connection to the PVHS incident. During the recorded interview with police, Farnsworth told detectives he damaged the school’s American flag and tagged one of the school’s exterior walls with the words “ISIS is comi–.”

Farnsworth pleaded guilty to the graffiti charge, while the abuse of a flag charge was dismissed via a plea deal in September in juvenile court.

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