This is a rather lengthy article so bear with me but it clarifies the final day of testimony in the trial of Tobin Kerns among other topics.
First I previously posted that Tobin used what I call the “joke defense”. Someone who was at the trial told me that was taken out of context by the previous article. This quote is more accurate…
In his testimony, Kerns said he was just egging Nee on for entertainment purposes while sleep-deprived when he wrote down a list of items dictated to him by Nee for use in planning the Columbine-style attack, and that he never planned to do anything with it. He said he was just doodling when he drew a swastika, a DOS (Disciples of Satan) symbol and a magnifying class at the top of the page.
“I forgot all about that list until I was arrested,” he said.
While I’m not thrilled that Tobin doodled those things on the list he has received help since then and prior to his arrest. Also, I think we all had that friend who talked a big game who we’d let rant and then roll our eyes as soon as he left the room. In Tobin’s case, that friend was Joe Nee.
And here is the clarification on the definition of communicating a threat Judge Coffin is looking for…
At issue is the definition of “communicating a threat.” Coffin said the question is whether the intended victim has to be threatened directly or whether a threat may be communicated by other means to the intended victim.
District Attorney Tim Cruz said Kerns was indicted on a charge of threatened use of deadly weapons at a school under a pre-Columbine state statute that defines what it means to communicate a threat, but the new, broader state statute on such a threat should apply in this case.
Massachusetts General Law refers to “whoever willfully communicates or causes to be communicated, either directly or indirectly, orally, in writing, by mail, by use of a telephone or telecommunication device including, but not limited to, electronic mail, Internet communications and facsimile communications, through an electronic communication device or by any other means” a threat.
Cruz filed the order because he is concerned that Coffin will use a more narrow definition to dismiss the charges or find Kerns not guilty, neither of which could be appealed.
The emergency order could be heard as soon as today (Oct. 25) by a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court. The justice could decide that the full court needs to decide the issue, which would cause further delay. Coffin said he would wait to announce his decision on both charges until the threat charge has been “worked out.”
So we could be in for even more delays. Not to mention the fact that in all the articles I’ve read since this whole thing started I have yet to read any instance of where Tobin uttered an actual threat. Granted I only really see what is in the media though.
And more testimony of Joe Nee’s chicanery…
McLaughlin also pressed Kerns on the contents of a Trapper Keeper that police found in the Kerns home. Kerns testified that he had loaned it to Nee, but McLaughlin questioned why Kerns had possession of it and why it was filled with his own writings, not Nee’s, along with a map of the high school with the names of intended shooters, targets and people to be spared that was submitted as evidence. Neither Kerns’ name nor his initials are on the map.
Kerns said he had forgotten all about the Trapper Keeper and hadn’t realized that Nee had left it behind in the room where Nee had stayed in the Kerns’ home in May 2004. Nee had to leave the home when Kerns was admitted by his father, Ben, into a mental health facility.
McElligott said Nee knew that the Trapper Keeper and its contents, including the supply list in Kerns’ handwriting, were in the Kerns home, and specifically told police to look for it. He said Nee had already ripped up the papers that implicated himself, as Farley had testified. He said Kerns, however, didn’t have a guilty conscience, and didn’t feel any need to look for it and then throw it away.
Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long for an answer from the Supreme Judicial Court and then a verdict. Tobin has had this hanging over his head for two years now.