(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed formal charges against a 19-year-old who allegedly planned shootings at multiple schools within Academy School District 20 (ASD20).
On Thursday, April 6, William Whitworth, who identifies as “Lilly Whitworth,” was formally charged with the following offenses:
- Criminal Attempt to Commit Murder in the First Degree (two counts)
- Criminal Mischief
- Interference with Staff, Faculty, or Students of Educational Institutions
The defendant’s preliminary hearing is slated for May 5 at 2:30 p.m. Her bond is set at $75,000.
A statement from an ASD20 spokesperson explained Whitworth attended three ASD20 schools over two years, but only for nine months:
- August 2014 – February 2015: Prairie Hills Elementary
- January 2016 – February 2016: Home School Academy
- August 2016 – October 2016: Timberview Middle School
“Unfortunately, when it’s a criminal case, there’s very little we can say it doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to the DA’s office. But what we can do is share the information that we’re allowed to do and reassure our families that we’re doing all of the right things,” ASD20 Chief Communication Officer, Allison Cortez, said. “And even more reassurance that while this is not the news we wanted this morning, the right things happened. Somebody saw something, they heard something, they said something, and they potentially saved people’s lives. So, it worked.”
Investigation detailed in affidavit
According to an affidavit, a deputy with the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office was called to a disturbance in the 13900 block of Double Tree Ranch Circle in the Unincorporated Town of Elbert Friday evening on March 31.
The 911 caller reported her sister, identified as Lilly Whitworth, threatened to shoot up a school at least twice and has severe anger issues, per arrest papers.
Upon arrival, the deputy entered the home and noticed “trash piled up all around the house to where it made it hard to walk inside.” The deputy also reported “numerous containers filled with half-eaten food with mold growing inside and numerous alcoholic beverage containers laying around the house.”
The deputy was directed to the room where Whitworth was reportedly sleeping and saw two holes in the wall that appeared to be punch marks as well as the door to the bedroom off its hinges lying beside the opening. Inside the room was trash piled up as high as Whitworth’s bed, a hole in the wall beside the bed, and sheets stained brown, according to the affidavit.
While being questioned, Whitworth told the deputy she had been planning a school shooting for “a month or two,” and was “about a third of the way from doing it.” Timberview Middle School was currently a “main target,” with other targets being churches, per the affidavit. The deputy asked why that school and she stated, “No specific reason.”
Part of Whitworth’s alleged plan for the school shooting included understanding the layout of the school, active firearm planning and writing a manifesto.
A drawn layout of the school was found on a dry-erase board labeled with the following: “Office???” “Bio?” “Math,” “Bathrooms,” among others. The first and second floors of the school were also labeled, according to the affidavit.
Whitworth told deputies her manifesto was four pages with “schizophrenic rants” and mentions of mass killers and serial killers. During a search, deputies later found the manifesto, which listed firearms and how to 3D print them, numerous named individuals to be killed and their casualty versus injury rate, and information detailing the creation of improvised explosive devices, per arrest papers. The manifesto also included the finalization of locations, which included Timberview Middle School, Prairie Hills Elementary and Pine Creek High School.
Whitworth was arrested for probable cause later that evening and transported to the Elbert County Jail. A search warrant on Whitworth’s home recovered the following pieces of evidence:
- The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrick Engels
- Whitworth’s manifesto
- A notebook with suicidal ideations