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Wednesday, 12 January, 2000, 14:57 GMT
Columbine teenager 'intoxicated by net'

Campbell Michael Campbell with his mother and lawyer


The Florida teenager accused of making an online threat to a Columbine High School student was suffering from "internet intoxication", his lawyer says.

Denver
Michael Ian Campbell, 18, denies using America Online's instant message system to tell a Columbine student that he would "finish what begun" at the school last April, when 12 students and a teacher were shot dead by two teenage gunmen.

Lawyer Ellis Rubin told reporters that Mr Campbell was intoxicated by the internet to the point of being hypnotised when he made the threat last month. He said his client meant no harm.

Change of venue

A federal judge in Denver set the trial for 28 February, but Mr Rubin said he would seek a change of venue because of the publicity surrounding case.

If convicted, Michael Campbell could be sentenced to five years in prison and fined $250,000.

An FBI agent in Florida has said the teenager confessed to making the threat when agents questioned him.

Local authorities have been criticised for ignoring threats posted on the internet by gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold before their 20 April attack.

Officials took no chances this time, deciding to begin the winter holiday break two days early for the school's 1,980 students.

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See also:
16 Dec 99 |  Americas
Internet threat closes Columbine
13 Dec 99 |  Americas
Columbine killers' video revelations
08 Dec 99 |  Americas
White House threatens lawsuit on guns
21 Apr 99 |  Americas
When children kill
16 Sep 99 |  Americas
Analysis: Recent gun legislation
16 Aug 99 |  Americas
Massacre school students return

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