Bakersfield teen granted change of venue in school threat case

A Bakersfield teen accused of threatening to "shoot up" Bakersfield High School won his change of venue motion earlier this month. According to the West Plains Daily Quill, the case for 19-year-old Derek Beaver was transferred Dec. 5th by 44th Circuit Presiding Judge Craig Carter to Wright County from Ozark County.

Beaver was arraigned in late February on a felony count of first-degree making a terroristic threat. He had been arrested at the school earlier that month shortly after Superintendent Dr. Amy Britt notified the Ozark County Sheriff's Office a parent had called Bakersfield High School principal Doyne Byrd to report a threat allegedly made by Beaver.

The charging document, filed by Ozark County Prosecuting Attorney John Garrabrant, says Beaver, "with the intent to frighten ten or more people, knowingly communicated to at least three classmates a threat to cause a school shooting, " by telling the classmates that defendant had access to semi-automatic and fully automatic firearms and that he intended to use the firearms to "shoot up the school" because no one there liked him."

According to the probable cause statement in the case, written by Dobbs, he was told by school officials "they had several reports from students indicating Derek Beaver was making threats to bring a firearm to the Bakersfield School and carry out a school shooting." In the statement, Dobbs said he also interviewed several students who had "witnessed the threatening behavior."

One student said in January, Beaver had said, "Dude, I'm going to shoot up this school." The student said he had heard Beaver make similar statements "as early as September 2017," the statement says, adding that the student "also observed Mr. Beaver boast about having an M-16 rifle, AK-47 and other firearms."

According to the statement, another student told the deputies he heard Beaver say he was going to "shoot up the school." Another student told Dobbs he had "witnessed Mr. Beaver with firearms at his residence," the statement says.

In addition to the change of venue, Judge Carter also approved bond amendments allowing Beaver to travel to West Plains for work and lifted a house arrest condition. Beaver is still under court orders to stay off Bakersfield R-IV School District property.

Even though the change of venue was granted, Beaver is scheduled for another court appearance in Ozark County Feb. 6th. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to seven years' imprisonment.

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