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Bizarre murder plot is foiled

Police say teen attempted to kill her tormentor

WEST VALLEY CITY — A bizarre murder plot resulting from a junior high teasing incident has led to the arrest of a 14-year-old girl who police say tried to kill her tormentor.

The 14-year-old planned to kill a 15-year-old classmate in her home and then set the home on fire so people would believe she was the one caught in the fire, West Valley Police Lt. Charles Illsley said. The girl then planned to move to Nebraska to start a new life with a new identity, he said.

According to police, the murder plot began two weeks ago when the girl, who had just barely turned 14, moved to West Valley City from California.

On her first day of school at West Lake Junior High, she was teased by the 15-year-old student. After that, the girl apparently devised a plot to get even.

The 14-year-old invited the 15-year-old to her uncle's home after class on Wednesday to take pictures for a fashion shoot and even paid her $100 to do it.

When the two got to the home, the 14-year-old asked the other girl to plug in an alternating current adapter for her camera, Illsley said.

While the girl was bent over, the 14-year-old clubbed her on the head several times with a bottle, Illsley said. The girls ended up struggling over the bottle and the 15-year-old was able to knock it away, he said.

The 15-year-old then made a run for a door that was locked. While she was looking for a way to get out, the 14-year-old went into the kitchen to grab a large butcher knife, he said.

The 15-year-old finally was able to unlock the door and run out of the house screaming, and a man waiting for a bus heard her.

After calling police, officers arrived at the home and found the door open, Illsley said. When they went inside, they found the bottle, the knife and signs of a struggle.

At that time, the 14-year-old girl's uncle drove up and said he had been told his niece had been arrested by police at Salt Lake City International Airport.

Upon further investigation, West Valley officers discovered the girl had gone to the airport after the assault and was trying to buy a plane ticket to Nebraska. Police believe she had been plotting the murder since the first day of school and had even sold her jewelry at a pawn shop for money to buy her plane ticket.

"The message from this case is you never know when you tease or kid or bully someone how that person is going to react, as evident by the most recent rash of school shootings in the nation," Illsley said.

West Lake Junior High Assistant Principal William Kenley said he couldn't talk about the case because it's still under investigation.

Contributing: Angie Welling