Despite writing in his journal that he would “be remembered forever” in doing “what he has been planning for so long,” Sammie Eaglebear Chavez stated in court on Tuesday that his plans to shoot and bomb his school in a killing spree were nothing but a joke.
The former student at Bartlesville High School is on trial in Washington County, Oklahoma for planning a mass school shooting.
Chavez reportedly talked about the killing with his friends, describing how such a shooting could be accomplished on their campus. One student reported hearing the defendant discuss drawing his classmates into the school auditorium, chaining the doors closed and opening fire.
In an earlier affidavit, Police Lt. Kevin Ickleberry wrote, “Sammie tried to recruit other students to assist him with carrying out a plan to lure students into the school auditorium where he planned to begin shooting them after chaining the doors shut."
Any student who didn’t want to help with the murder was threatened with death. Chavez also planned to booby-trap the doors so that bombs would explode when the police showed up.
The teen bought a gun, and wrote about murder in his journal. One entry noted, “These thoughts of hurting and killing others have become comforting.”
In his testimony, 19-year-old Chavez stated, “It was a joke in the sense that it wasn’t meant seriously.” He claimed to be venting anger with no intention of harming anyone.
In his home, Chavez had what his family called “the murder table,” which was covered with dates and names next to the word “murder.” The table was also adorned with the terms “Peek-A-Boo, I’ll chop you,” and “9-19-12 Murder Barbie,” which may refer to a woman named Barbara who was slain by 13-year-olds with hatchets.
According to Chavez, all of the evidence showed nothing but “an unfortunate coincidence.” The truth of that statement will be determined by the jury, which starts deliberations Tuesday afternoon.