Teen Arrested in Plot to Kill Leon High School Principal UPDATE


A teenager accused of threatening to kill his former principal and classmates now threatens himself.

17-year-old Jacob Pearson spoke of suicide as he went in front of a judge Wednesday morning.

Judge Janet Ferris says soliciting a gun to kill Leon High School Principal Rocky Hanna is grounds to detain 17-year-old Jacob Pearson in the juvenile detention center for 21 days.

When she announced that in court Wednesday, Pearson said he'd rather die.

He said, "Just kill me now. Judge Ferris said, "We won't do that." "Well, I'll do it myself." Said, Pearson.

Pearson was arrested Tuesday night after authorities were alerted to an October 25th conversation he had online in a gun enthusiast chat room.

He told someone: "I don't want anyone to get in my way of me making history."
The other person said, "okay, so what do you need?"
Pearson said, "weapons."
"what kind?"
"ones that shoot"
The other person said, "do you really think you can get away with it nobody else has."
Pearson said, "I'll kill then die fighting."

Eric Trombley, the State Attorney Juvenile Division Supervisor, said,"It wasn't just hey what are you doing this weekend? Let's go to the movies. It was extremely serious in regards to what he was wanting to do."

Last year, Pearson threatened his mother with a knife. Hanna says he expelled Pearson so that the teenager couldn't be a threat at school.

Pearson was sent to live with his father in South Florida for a time, then returned, authorities say with revenge on his mind.

John Hunkiar, Leon County Schools Safety, Security, and Emergency Management Director, said, "It is behavior that will not be tolerated. We're going to use all the resources of the district to address his behavior."

Pearson also told the person online that he was awkward to be around and was picked on constantly. He wrote, "I want to do in a lot of happy kids."

Deputies say the person Pearson was chatting with is someone in California. Deputies say that person notified authorities and got the investigation rolling.

Pearson's arraignment is November 5th and the trial date is set for November 12th.

The State Attorney's Office says it has to decide by that time if Pearson will be filed in the adult system.

Trombley says if Pearson stays in juvenile court, the office has to see if they'll keep the charges, which are: threatening to throw a deadly missile and attempted possession of a firearm by a delinquent.

Updated (10/29) 1:10 p.m.

Letter from Principal Rocky Hanna:

Dear Parents,

As many of you are aware, there are currently several media stories
circulating regarding the arrest of a former Leon student that made
threats towards me via the Internet.

The young man has been detained and all agencies involved are currently gathering more information. I want to assure parents, students, and Leon family members that we are working closely with Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement as well as the School District Safety and Security Office to insure the safety of all Leon students and faculty. Your support and patience is greatly appreciated.


Rocky Hanna
Leon High School


Updated 11:33 a.m. (10/29)

Deputies say 17-year old Jacob Pearson was arrested for trying to purchase a gun online.

Pearson is accused of plotting to kill Leon High School principal Rocky Hanna and students at the school.

This morning in court, Pearson made threats to kill himself as he stood before Leon County Judge Janet Ferris.

He said quote "Kill me now or I'll do it myself."

He's currently a student at SAIL High School.

According deputies, the 17 year old was expelled from Leon High School in 2007 after an arrest for assaulting his mother with a knife.

The FBI says Pearson was part of an online gun enthusiast chat room...

Here are some excerpts from his chatting on line....

Pearson says: “I wanna make history at my old high school if you know what i mean”

Another person responds “do you really think you can get away with it, nobody else has...”

Pearson says: “I’ll kill, then die fighting”

he adds: “I'm not doing anything else with my life”, “I'm failing in school”
“lost my fiancé”, “lost all of my belongings”, “lost a lot more than that”

Pearson says: “I wanna do in a lot of happy kids and do in the principal."

Pearson will remain at the Juvenile Assessment Center until the State Attorney determines if he'll be tried as an adult.

Deputies have advised Principal Hanna not comment at this time...

We will have comments from the school's resource officer and more reaction this evening on Eyewitness News.

Updated 10/28 10:25 p.m.
Official Release from the Leon County Sheriff's Office

The Federal Bureau of Investigation received a tip of a threat to kill students and a high school principal. A person reported that on Saturday October 25, 2008, they were chatting with screen name/IM – “bowser369” in a Yahoo firearm enthusiast chat room known as “The Gun Cabinet”.

According to the person, “bowser369” wanted information on weapons and indicated he wanted to kill students and a school principal. The FBI investigation revealed that “bowser369” is registered to Tallahassee, Florida resident Jacob Pearson (17yoa). Some of the chat content included:
Pearson: “how did eric and dylan get their guns”
Pearson: “i wanna make history at my old high school if you know what i mean”
Pearson: “I don’t want anyone to get in my way of me making history..”
: “okay, so what do you need?”
Pearson: “weapons”
: “what kind?”
Pearson: “ones that shoot”
: “do you really think you can get away with it nobody else has..”
Pearson: “i’ll kill then die fighting”
Pearson: “will I go to jail”, “im not doing anything else with my life”, “im failing in school”
Pearson: “lost my fiancé”, “lost all of my belongings”, “lost a lot more than that”
Pearson: “im shy”, “and ackward to be around”, “picked on constantly”
: “why take it out on your old high school?”
Pearson: “im jealous of people and their happiness”
Pearson: “I f****** hate them”
Pearson: “i wanna do in a lot of happy kids and do in the principal”
Pearson: “he kicked me out of his school”
Pearson: “because of something that happened outside of school”
Pearson: “ the ass”
: “you really should think about this before you do some s*** that you’ll regret when
you’re sitting in prison for the rest of your life..”

After this, Pearson did not respond.

The FBI contacted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the Tallahassee Police Department about these threats. The investigation by the LCSO, FDLE and the Tallahassee Police Department revealed on July 14, 2007, TPD responded to Lucy Street in reference to Jacob Pearson assaulting his mother with a knife. Pearson was arrested for this offense and later placed on DJJ Probation. Pearson was also subsequently expelled from Leon High School. After his arrest writings where located in Pearson’s bedroom which included satanic/occult, homicidal fantasies and suicidal thoughts. The homicidal fantasies included idolization of the Columbine shooters and other similar incidents.

The TPD offense report also documented that Pearson asked a friend if he knew how to obtain an Uzi brand submachine gun.

In November of 2007 Pearson was with family in Tennessee for the Thanksgiving Holiday when he became enraged during a family dispute. During this incident he bit his sister, broke his brother’s hand, and threw a chair through a hotel window. Pearson began speaking incoherently, advised that he worshiped Satan, wanted to kill people, wanted to kill babies, wanted to kill Rocky Hanna (Principal of Leon High School), proclaimed that he will “do a Columbine”, and he requested that the police kill him. Pearson was placed into psychiatric care in Tennessee. The School Resource Deputy Unit was notified of the incident in Tennessee by the Tallahassee Police Department and informed Leon County Schools and Principal Hannah. A friend of Pearson also stated that Pearson had previously expressed a dislike for Mr. Hannah due to his expulsion from Leon High School. At that time DJJ filed a request for a Violation Of Probation Pick Up Order, which was signed by Judge Ferris and Pearson was subsequently arrested after returning from Tennessee.

As a result of this investigation, Pearson's statements in “The Gun Cabinet” were discovered and warrants were obtained by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office Violent Crimes Unit for felony Threatening to Throw, Project, Place, or Discharge any Destructive Device and felony
Attempting to Obtain a Firearm by a Juvenile Delinquent.

Pearson has been arrested and booked into the Leon County Juvenile Assessment Center. Leon County Schools Safety and Security Office has been advised of Pearson’s arrest, as he is a current student at SAIL High School.

Sheriff Larry Campbell said “this arrest is the direct result of the successful coordinated investigative efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement. Pearson posed an immediate
danger to the community and this cooperative investigation has prevented a potential tragedy.”


A local teen has been arrested for trying to buy guns online.

Deputies say the 17-year-old was allegedly plotting to kill Leon High School Principal Rocky Hannah.

WCTV will have more information as soon as it is made available.

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