Court upholds sentence for son of Boston police officer convicted of plotting Columbine-style massacre
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that Joseph Nee was fairly convicted on a charge he conspired with other students at Marshfield High School to massacre students and teachers they didn't like.
Nee was convicted in 2008 and served nine months in state prison. In his appeal, Nee, son of Boston patrolmen's union President Thomas Nee, argued the verdict should be overturned because he had renounced his part in the plot by telling a Marshfield police officer about it before it could be carried out.
In a unanimous ruling, the state's highest court said that even if it agreed Nee had a right to argue "renunciation" - something Massachusetts law does not seem to allow in conspiracy cases - it still would have upheld the guilty verdict:
For the defendant to be entitled to the affirmative defense of renunciation, he must first have acknowledged that he conspired to commit a crime. This the defendant did not do.
At the meeting at the Marshfield police station the defendant did not inform the police of his own participation in the conspiracy to "shoot up" the school. Nor is there evidence that he informed [the other students in the plot], or anyone else that he was abandoning the conspiracy. Rather, when the defendant spoke to the police about the plan, he placed exclusive blame on Kerns. He cannot be found to have "renounced" an enterprise in which he denied participation.