Bond denied for suspect in bomb hoax

The Warren Sentinel

FRONT ROYAL — The Warren County High School student accused of placing a fake bomb on school grounds was denied bond during his first appearance in Warren County District Court Tuesday.

When considering bond for Caleb Sutphin, Judge W. Dale Houff noted that Sutphin does not have a criminal record. However, because of the nature of the incident and number of people threatened, Houff said he wanted to confirm where Sutphin lives and who would be responsible for him if he were to be released on bond.

He also said Sutphin, 18, whose address is listed on Deerfield Road, should have time to confer with his attorney before his bond appeal. Winchester lawyer Matthew Beyrau was assigned Monday to represent Sutphin.

Assistant Commonwealthís Attorney Brian Layton agreed that it would be best to wait on bond until stability is shown in Sutphin's situation and he has time to talk with his lawyer.

Sutphin is due in Warren County District Court at 2 p.m. March 1. The date was set 30 days out to allow for the gathering of evidence. Suptin can reapply for bond before the March 1 hearing, Layton said.

Sutphin was arrested Friday after allegedly placing a hoax bomb at Warren County High School, according to a Warren County Sheriffís Office news release. He was charged with the manufacture, possession, or use of firebombs, explosive materials or devices. Under state law, the use of a hoax device is a Class 6 felony.

At 12:09 p.m. Friday, the suspected explosive device was located and the school was evacuated by administration and school resource deputies, the release said. School administrators and deputies performed a preliminary search of other areas in the school to ensure the incident was isolated.

Schools Superintendent Greg Drescher said events like this are rare, and thanked everybody involved for keeping the students safe.

Staff and students practice evacuations and lockdown procedures regularly, so everyone knew what procedure to follow, Drescher said.

"Students were great in taking the situation seriously and followed instructions. Staff followed our crisis plans and everyone supported each other," he said.

Warren County Sheriffís deputies arrived, searched the buildingís exterior and established a perimeter with assistance from the Front Royal Police Department and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the release said.

Virginia State Police explosive technicians examined the device and determined it was a non-functional hoax bomb, the release said.

Although announcements and phone calls similar to ones parents received that day are unnerving, Drescher said, the parents did a wonderful job in following procedures when picking up their kids.

"Everyone's cooperation made the whole event go as smoothly and safely as possible," he said.

The school and parking lot were searched and cleared using explosive searching canines from the Virginia State Police and Mount Weather Police Department, the release said.

The facility was released back to school officials at 3:23 p.m.

Anyone with further information is asked to call Warren County Sheriffís Lt. Gordon Foster at (540) 635-4128.

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