FLORENCE - A U.S. Magistrate is weighing whether Ryan Schallenberger, the 18-year-old student from Chesterfield High school accused of plotting to blow up his school, is mentally fit to stand trail.
Magistrate Thomas E. Rogers III received a motion last week from prosecutors stating that they were requesting Schallenberger be examined "to determine whether he is suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent" and unable to understand the charges he faces or assist with his own defense."
Prosecutors have requested that the evaluation be done at Butner Federal Corrections Complex in North Carolina.
If the motion is granted, it could take as many as 2 to 3 months before the process is complete.
Schallenberger is charged with :
- Attempt to use a weapon of mass destruction against a person within the United States;
- Attempting to damage and destroy by means of explosive and building and real property getting federal funds;
- Knowingly receiving by interstate commerce an explosive with knowledge or intent that it will be used to kill, injure or intimidate individuals, as well as unlawfully damage and destroy any real or personal property.
If convicted of all three federal charges, Schallenberger could face life in prison.
Federal prosecutors said they were concerned that Schallenberger might be suicidal.He was placed on 24-hour suicide watch last week at the chesterfield County jail. He has since been moved to the jail's general population.