5th May 20:00
Many people give up on the computer after probs. --> OFF TOPIC
But the smd probs. are no where like
what is going on in the world of real world probs!
Posted on Sun, Aug. 10, 2003
Girl tells of Oaklyn trio's 'rescue' plot
Mo. **** says they planned in an e-mail exchange to kill her parents.
By John Shiffman
Inquirer Staff Writer
SIBLEY, Mo. - Just hours before three Oaklyn ****agers armed
themselves for an alleged Columbine-style shooting spree in South
Jersey, a troubled Missouri girl begged them not to go through with
Their master plan, the 15-year-old girl believed, would lead them here
next, to this speck of a town on the Missouri River where she lives.
One of the two juveniles arrested with Matthew Lovett, 18, had
exchanged e-mails with the girl for months and planned to "rescue" her
from "evil" parents, then kill them, the girl said in an interview.
"I was, like, I didn't think it was real," she said. "To me, it was
all [Internet] role-playing. I didn't think they would drive across
the country to rescue me."
The girl's role in the alleged Oaklyn plot is one of several
previously undisclosed elements that could become key to the
still-evolving case. These new details were gleaned from Internet
postings, Inquirer interviews with people close to the case, and
government sources in Missouri and New Jersey.
Authorities have charged Lovett and the two juveniles, ages 14 and 15,
with carjacking and conspiring to kill three Oaklyn students who the
boys said bullied them.
"We're going to kill people left and right - there's no way around
in New Jersey."
When the three ****agers were arrested, they were carrying directions
to the girl's Missouri home.
The girl's mother said she had not known about her daughter's online
relationship with the ****s until they were arrested.
"It took a while to sink in," said Philis Gerken, who has a different
last name from her daughter's. Gerken feared, she said, that "they
were really going to come here and kill me."
Her daughter, whose arms are scarred by self-inflicted razor wounds,
gave her account during an interview in a locked adolescent unit of a
Kansas City psychiatric hospital. She spoke with her mother at her
side and on the condition that her name not be published.
"I wonder what went through their minds," said the frail ****, her
black hair set in pigtails. "Why would they actually do it?"
Some defense lawyers for the ****s and their family members have said
that authorities overreacted and that the three never intended to harm
"From day one, we've always maintained there was no Columbine-type
killing spree involved, either in South Jersey or in Missouri," said
John Underwood, attorney for the 15-year-old boy. "I think people will
be surprised how far this case has been blown out of proportion."
However, Lovett's attorney, Craig Mitnick, said that "the potential
that someone could have gotten killed was so strong here that we all
may be missing the point as to whether there was an actual, real
intended plan to kill someone.
"Whether it was real or a played-out fantasy, it is a miracle that
either one of these juveniles, Matthew Lovett, or an innocent police
officer were not killed," Mitnick said. "There's got to be some
responsibility for [creating] such a situation."
According to authorities, the plot began early July 6 but fizzled at
the outset when a motorist whom the trio tried to carjack alerted
police. The three were dressed in black and carried rifles, handguns
and 2,000 rounds of ammunition, police said.
Government officials said last week that Lovett had justified his plan
by saying it was all for the greater good of humanity. The sources
said that Lovett had told one officer: "There are six billion people
in the world. A few less will not hurt anything."
Lovett's attorney said he doubted that his client had said that.
Lovett and the two juveniles, who authorities say called themselves
"Warriors of Freedom," remain jailed, Lovett on $1 million bail.
Superior Court Judge Louis Hornstine ordered the juveniles detained
On Aug. 26, Hornstine will begin considering whether the two juveniles
should be tried as adults. The adult charges carry the potential for
prison sentences up to 40 years. In juvenile court, the sentence is
four to 10 years.
The 14-year-old's attorney, William O'Brien Jr., said that "from what
I've seen so far, there is a basis to show there's a substantial case
to be made" that his client should be tried as a juvenile. He declined
to comment further.
Underwood, the 15-year-old's attorney, said he had filed a motion
Friday challenging the constitutionality of the state's procedure for
deciding whether juveniles should be charged as adults.
The Inquirer is not identifying the juveniles.
Camden County Prosecutor Vincent P. Sarubbi and Oaklyn Police Chief
Christopher Ferrari said they could not comment on an ongoing
investigation. A spokeswoman for the Jackson County, Mo., Sheriff's
Department, which interviewed the girl and seized her computer, would
only confirm that her department was involved.
New Jersey authorities seized six computers in Oaklyn. From one, state
troopers recovered an antigovernment screed in which Lovett described
himself as a violent prophet. In the manifesto-like do***ent, Lovett
praised witchcraft, astrology, video games, the movie The Matrix, and
the teachings of a California-based psychic.
At one point, Lovett wrote, "I am a gift - a gift to humanity itself,"
according to sources. Then he added: "I'm starting to talk uber-crazy
again. Shhh, Matt, Shhh."
Mitnick declined to comment on those phrases, but said: "His writings
are unbelievably deep for an 18-year-old. It shows a lot distress in
his life. This was not a happy-go-lucky kid."
An attorney for one of the juveniles and the father of the other have
described them as good ****agers led astray by Lovett.
But the Missouri girl said in an interview that the Oaklyn juvenile
she e-mailed most often - she didn't learn his true name until after
the arrest - had "a messed-up mind."
"I mean, he would talk about blowing up babies and stuff," the girl
said. "He had some ideas about taking over the world. It was really
She said she had met one of the Oaklyn juveniles in a chat room
several months ago, then expanded their online relationship privately
in e-mails. She also e-mailed Lovett. "Matt was nice," she said.
The ****agers appeared to have a lot in common - an affinity for
poetry and Japanese animé drawings, as well as bouts of depression and
a fear of bullies.
In one Internet posting in late June, the girl wrote: "I'm afraid
something bad is going to happen." Ten days later, Lovett and the two
****s were arrested.
Watching the news reports from her home that Sunday morning, the girl
"just sat in front of the TV and rocked and cried," her mother said.
"She said she felt like a murderer."
In a note to friends shortly afterward, the girl described how
authorities came to her house and "questioned me about these 3 boys."
In e-mails describing her exchanges with one of the Oaklyn juveniles,
she wrote: "I'd always talk about wanting to run away. One day he
offered to help me. I jokeingly agreed and gave him my addie
[address]. I know, I'm stupid. Don't rub it in."
The boy planned to "get me, kill my parents and take me away," the
girl wrote. "I became a mess and very depressed."
During a 45-minute visit with her mother and a reporter last week at
the hospital, the girl spoke eagerly of high school classes she
planned to take in the fall. Mother and daughter spoke cheerfully
about new clothes, their diets, and the girl's desire to replace her
wire-rimmed glasses with contact lenses.
"The doctors tell me I'm creative and insightful," she told her
mother. "I didn't think I was creative and insightful."
When the topic veered back to Oaklyn, however, the girl dropped her
"That day was so scary," she said. "I didn't know what was going to
happen. I was suicidal. I thought I was going to be taken away to a
juvenile place, and to, you know, bad places."
Her mother agreed. "She was really kind of blown away by what they had
done." In late July, Gerken had her daughter committed to the
hospital. The girl was released late last week and was doing well.
She is not expected to be charged with a crime. "We consider her a
witness, not a suspect," a New Jersey official said.
Gerken has canceled her home Internet service and doubts she will
reconnect when authorities return her confiscated computer.
"That's OK, Mom," her daughter told her. "I'm not going to miss the
Contact staff writer John Shiffman at 856-779-3857 or
Joel M. Eichen, D.D.S.
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