(COLORADO SPRINGS) — A 19-year-old from Elbert County has pleaded guilty to Second Degree Assault for threatening to target three schools in Academy District 20, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s (DA) Office.
On March 31, 2023, deputies with the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) responded to a home in unincorporated Elbert County after a family member contacted law enforcement stating that 19-year-old William Whitworth, who identifies as Lily, had threatened to shoot up a school and was punching holes in a wall.
While on scene at the Elbert County home, deputies discovered a dry erase board that appeared to have a labeled floor plan of a school, as well as a notebook with additional drawings and floor plans. Whitworth also admitted to planning an attack, according to the DA’s Office.
Whitworth was initially booked into jail and held on $75,000 bond, but that bond was later increased to $750,000 after Whitworth told jail staff that if she bonded out, she still planned to carry out the original mass shooting.
On Nov. 6, Whitworth accepted a plea agreement and entered a plea of guilty to Second Degree Assault, a class 4 felony. Whitworth faces a maximum of 16 years in the Department of Corrections.
“We often question how tragedies happen after it’s too late,” 18th Judicial District Attorney John Kellner said. “In this case, a family member had the courage and strength to pick up the phone and call for help. I encourage everyone when it comes to school security, if you see something concerning to report it right away. That call may save lives.”
Sentencing is set for Jan. 19, 2024.